A CLAT, or Charitable Lead Trust, is an Irrevocable Trust designed to provide financial contributions to one or more charities for a specified period of time, with the remaining assets eventually being distributed to family members or other beneficiaries. A CLAT also provides an owner with estate and income tax benefits that can be particularly helpful in the year of a business sale.
For example, our fictional business owner Sarah successfully sold her business this year. Following are a few key data points:
The payout in year of sale is significant as she is in control exiting on her own terms and conditions. She built a sellable business.
As a result of the large payout this year, she also has income and estate tax problems. Her exit goals include minimization of both income and estate taxes.
Not only has Sarah been impactful through her business, but also through her generous and strategic giving to favorite charities through the years. She wants to increase giving with sale proceeds.
Along with personal values that she wants to transfer to heirs as part of her legacy, she also has financial legacy goals. So, she would like for a portion of her charitable trust assets to eventually return to her family and beneficiaries.
Due to her comprehensive planning process, Sarah has been able to sell her business on her own terms and conditions and have strategies in place to accomplish her tax minimization, charitable giving, and legacy goals — one tool playing a role in her strategy is the Charitable Lead Annuity Trust (CLAT). Sarah’s Charitable Lead Annuity Trust will provide her with both income and estate tax benefits, and work to accomplish her charitable and legacy goals.
If you’re a business owner like Sarah in the year of selling your business, and have goals of minimizing estate and/or income taxes, charitable or philanthropic goals, and financial legacy goals, establishing a CLAT could play a key role in your comprehensive plan. Also, the current interest rate environment is particularly suited for CLATS as they are most effective when rates are low.
Check with your estate planning attorney and/or CPA, or contact us to see if a CLAT would be the right strategy for you. You can also learn more in our latest ExitReadiness® PODCAST episode with Estate Planning Attorney Jonathon Morrison of Ryan Frazer Goldberg & Arnold.