Kony 2012: How Charitable Giving Affects Alabama Estate Planning

According a recent article in Forbes, the recent online film “Kony 2012” has sparked an international crusade for the capture of reputed war criminal Joseph Kony. In addition to the film’s attempt to raise awareness about Kony’s war crimes in Uganda, it also raises a significantly important question with regard to estate planning, i.e., charitable giving. It can make a sizeable impact on the tax consequences of any Alabama estate.

Kony 2012 documents the crimes of Joseph Kony and the filmmaker’s desire to make Kony famous in order to bring him to justice. At the end of the 29-minute piece, the filmmaker encourages the viewer that he or she can get involved in the movement by doing a few simple things, one of those being make a donation to the Invisible Children non-profit organization. The film and the organization, however, are not without their critics. Several people have accused the organization of using the tragedy in Uganda to make money.

It is this aspect of charitable giving that can be difficult to put into perspective. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of people who are bold enough to take advantage of needy people and good causes. There have been reports of charities that have stolen money from those who have donated and have not used any of the funds to the causes they claim to advocate. This has led to organizations like CharityNavigator.org and GuideStar.org, that keep track of how much of a charity’s donation money is being used for those in need and how much of the donation money is used for administrative costs and expenses.

Charitable giving, however, is much more than a financial consideration. It involves considering those things that one believes in and how best to support that particular cause. It is not just about the tax deduction, but a commitment to a certain set of values. Since much of charitable giving is based on emotional convictions, financial advisers do not have one concrete set of rules that guide how one can give to charitable organizations. However, one thing is clear. It is always important to do some background investigation on the organizations before you give to make sure that your money is being used for the right purposes.

An experienced Alabama estate planning attorney can help you work through the estate-planning implications of charitable giving. The expertise of the estate planning lawyers at Martinson & Beason, P.C. will help you craft a sound plan to secure your family’s future.

Source: “Should Kony 2012 Be Part of Your Retirement or Estate Plans?” by Robert Laura, published at Forbes.com.