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Continuing Progress on Legacy Planning Goals

United Way of Santa Barbara County continues to move forward with its important work. In the midst of all that is going on, many of our friends and supporters are looking forward to the future when they can enjoy community with friends and resume their regular activities. In response to the current situation, Congress extended some of the COVID relief tax changes to 2021.

United Way of Santa Barbara County (UWSBC) can help you continue your progress on your estate planning and legacy gift planning goals. You may have given estate and legacy gift planning some extra attention in 2020 but may still have some unfinished business. We are happy to be a resource as you continue your estate and legacy gift planning journey.

United Way of Santa Barbara County has created this page to offer resources to help you with your tax planning and to offer some ideas for you to consider if you are thinking about making a gift in support of our mission in 2021.

1. NEW 2021 Charitable Giving Incentives

The CARES Act passed in 2020 included several charitable tax provisions to encourage giving. Congress has expanded these provisions for 2021 including:

  • A deduction for charitable donors who do not itemize when filing their tax returns. If you do not itemize but make a cash gift to charity, you will be allowed to take a special tax deduction, up to $300 ($600 for joint filers), to reduce your tax liability.
  • An increase in the deduction limit up to 100% of a donor's annual income for cash gifts (previously the deduction was capped at 60% of annual income). If you make a gift you will be able to deduct more this year.

2. Charitable Bequests

You may be looking for a way to make a significant gift to help further our mission. A bequest is a gift made through your will or trust. It is one of the most popular and flexible ways that you can support United Way of Santa Barbara County while not impacting your available cash today.


January 2021 Update - During 2020, the CARES Act created a holiday for required minimum distributions from IRAs. The CARES Act holiday for required minimum distributions from IRAs was NOT extended into 2021. In 2021, IRA owners age 72 and older will resume their required minimum distribution (RMD) from IRAs.

However, the law remains that IRA owners age 70 and older can make a charitable rollover gift of up to $100,000 from their IRA to public charities. This charitable IRA rollover will count toward their RMDs.

4. Charitable Gift Annuities

If you are concerned about your financial security given the ups and downs of the stock market, you may want to consider making a gift to fund a charitable gift annuity. You might be surprised by the benefits. You can exchange your low-performing stock, CDs or cash for guaranteed, lifetime fixed payments. If you make a gift of an appreciated asset, you will not have to pay capital gains when you fund the annuity. You may also benefit from a tax deduction this year and a portion of your payments could be tax-free.

5. Donor Advised Funds

If you have a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) and wish to help United Way this year, you can make a gift from your DAF to support our work without affecting your personal financial security.


The SECURE Act became effective on January 1, 2020 and will inevitably affect many retirement savers. One of the important aspects of the SECURE Act to discuss with your financial advisor is the Stretch Distribution Reduction. If you planned to benefit your children with your IRA, your heirs will now likely pay higher taxes on the inheritance they receive from you. When you revisit your estate plan, consider funding a testamentary charitable remainder unitrust with your IRA balance. This plan can provide lifetime payments to your heirs and spread out the taxes on their inheritance.

Other SECURE Act changes include Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), Traditional IRA Contributions, Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Age and Retirement Plan Annuities.

Contact your financial advisor to learn more about the changes included as part of the SECURE Act and how those changes might affect you.

7. Always United E-news Sign Up

Always United E-news provides opportunities for donors who are at or near retirement and wish to continue their relationship with United Way. We feature estate planning information and also include news from Washington, Savvy Living tips, volunteer opportunities and other timely articles. Stay up to date on news impacting your retirement. Sign up for Always United E-news today!

If you are interested in learning more about any of these ideas, please contact us. Please also let us know how we can help you during this time.