Real estate represents over 35% of the total assets of many families, yet charitable gifts involving property have not been widely considered. This situation is changing as attorneys, CPAs, financial planners, gift planners, realtors and other advisors turn their attention to helping families and individuals find creative ways to make significant, tax-savvy gifts using real estate assets.
The challenges involved in using real estate assets for charitable purposes shouldn’t be minimized—environmental liability issues, other legal considerations, marketability/liquidity issues, and regulatory issues are very real and must be dealt with carefully by all involved. But with proper guidance and support, and appropriate caution, these issues need not be hurdles to the development of gifts that, in many instances, can address the tax and retirement planning objectives of individuals and families while producing substantial charitable benefit for institutions like Amherst.
In some cases, families and individuals discover the capacity through their real estate assets to make gifts well beyond what they had thought possible when considering only gifts of cash and marketable securities. Amherst is prepared to explore a wide range of creative real estate gift arrangements that take advantage of the benefits provided by the tax code—perhaps involving life income in addition to immediate tax benefits, or providing a way to continue living in the property after it has been donated. The College is interested in discussing alternatives involving a primary residence, a vacation home, commercial property, an income-producing residential property, property with conservation or historic significance, partial interests in property, and any other real estate situations that alumni and friends might face. In every instance, the College will encourage donors to seek expert counsel from qualified professional advisors.
When real estate assets come to the College through a charitable arrangement, the College will in almost every instance seek to sell the property as quickly as possible, consistent with the terms of the gift. And the College, in considering the prospect of such gifts, will carefully weigh the risks of holding title to real estate assets—exposure to environmental liability, possible assumption of operating costs pending sale, costs of sale, etc.—against the likely net proceeds to the College.
The case studies below illustrate several real estate gift arrangements Amherst is prepared to explore with potential donors. These options should be considered a starting point for discussions aimed at finding the structure best suited to the particular circumstances of individuals, families, the real estate in question, and the needs and constraints of the College.
Information contained in this website should not be considered legal, accounting, or other professional advice. Individuals considering a planned gift to Amherst should consult with their financial advisor.
For more information about making a planned gift to Amherst, please contact the Gift Planning staff.