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Is a charitable trust right for me? Part 1: charitable remainder unitrusts

First of three-part blog series highlighting types of charitable trusts to consider when supporting the causes that matter most to you.

March 03, 2020 | by Jane Lee Heuser


Is a charitable trust right for me? Part 1: charitable remainder unitrusts

Charitable trusts can be a great way to support the causes you’re most passionate about while achieving your own financial goals. In this blog series, we will address three types of charitable trusts, including charitable remainder unitrusts, non-grantor charitable lead trusts and flip charitable remainder unitrusts.

FAQ: Charitable Remainder Unitrusts

What is a charitable remainder unitrust?

  • A charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) is an arrangement in which you or your loved ones receive an income for life or a number of years in exchange for a gift of cash or stock. 

  • At the end of the term, the remainder of the trust is applied to the program or area you have designated at your charity.

What are the benefits of establishing a CRUT? 

  • By establishing a CRUT, you are investing in the future of your favorite charity while receiving a stream of income.

  • You are eligible for a current income tax deduction for a portion of your gift.

  • You may also add to your CRUT at any time, for an additional income tax deduction.

How does it work?

  • A CRUT pays a fixed percentage of 5% or more of its value each year to the income beneficiaries.

  • Income payments are variable, depending on the performance of the trust’s investments each year.

What types of assets are best to donate to a charitable trust? 

  • CRUTs can be funded with gifts of cash, appreciated stock or even real estate.

  • You can establish a Duke-managed CRUT with a gift of $100,000 or more.

Who can be a trustee of a charitable trust? 

  • You, a trusted advisor, or the charity may serve as trustee. Many donors prefer to name an independent, professional trustee.

  • Duke University can serve as trustee if 51% or more of the trust remainder is designated to Duke.

Interested in learning more about charitable remainder unitrusts or other planned gifts? Duke’s Office of Gift Planning can help you and your advisors explore your options. Please contact us for a confidential discussion on how you can achieve your philanthropic goals.

About the author

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Jane Lee Heuser Associate Director of Trust and Estate Administration

Jane is a native of Chicago, Illinois, and moved to beautiful North Carolina in 2005. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and joined the Gift Planning team in 2012. Jane is responsible for handling the day-to-day administration of Duke's trust and gift annuity accounts. She also manages estates for Duke and works with donors in developing their charitable plans. Prior to joining Duke, Jane managed trusts and estates at a small law firm and was a vice president with The Northern Trust Company in Chicago. Jane loves to travel and is conversant in Cantonese and French. She keeps busy with her husband and two teenagers and is an active volunteer in Durham and Chapel Hill.

Jane Lee Heuser can be contacted via email or by phone at (919) 681-6776.

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