Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts (CRATs)

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

What is a Charitable Annuity Trust?

A charitable annuity trust is a financial arrangement where an individual transfers assets to a trust, which then pays a fixed annuity to the donor or designated beneficiaries for a specific period. After this period, the remaining assets go to a designated charity.

Charitable Remainder Trust Annuity

Pros of Charitable Annuity Trust

  1. Stable Income: Provides a steady income stream, often for the donor’s lifetime.
  2. Tax Benefits: Offers significant tax advantages such as income tax deductions and potential estate tax reductions.
  3. Charitable Contribution: Enables substantial charitable giving, which can be fulfilling and impactful.
  4. Asset Management: The trust can professionally manage assets, potentially leading to better investment outcomes.
Charitable Annuity Trust

Cons of Charitable Annuity Trust

  1. Irrevocability: Once established, it’s difficult or impossible to alter the trust’s terms.
  2. Limited Liquidity: Assets transferred to the trust are no longer readily accessible for personal use.
  3. Complex Setup: Establishing a trust can be complicated and might require legal and financial advice.
  4. Potential for Lower Income: If the trust’s investments underperform, the income generated might be less than expected.
Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust

Comparison of Charitable Annuity Trust with Other Charitable Giving Methods

FeatureCharitable Annuity TrustDonor-Advised FundsDirect Charitable Giving
Income StreamYes, fixed annuityNoNo
Tax BenefitsSignificantVariesImmediate deductions
Control Over AssetsLimited after transferFlexible contributionsImmediate relinquishment
Impact on CharityLong-term benefitFlexible supportImmediate impact
Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts


A charitable annuity trust offers a blend of personal financial benefits and the opportunity to support charitable causes. It’s suitable for those seeking a stable income while also planning substantial charitable contributions. However, its complexity and irrevocability require careful consideration. Understanding both the advantages and limitations is crucial in determining if it aligns with your financial and philanthropic goals.

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Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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