Charitable Lead Trust

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

A Charitable Lead Trust, or CLT, is a trust to which you (grantor) transfer assets (not necessarily appreciated assets). The trust manages and invests the assets and every year (or other designated period) pays an amount to a designated charity. After a set time period, the CLT ends and your designated heirs (e.g., children) receive the trust assets. A CLT does not provide an income tax charitable contribution deduction (unless of course its structured as a grantor trust), but it provides a potentially substantial gift tax deduction. Thus, a CLT can be used to transfer substantial assets to a later generation with little or no gift tax. A CLT is in many respects the inverse of a Charitable remainder trust (CRT).

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