alt=A grandmother holds her granddaughter wile her own daughter looks on.
Continue your charitable legacy

Extend your philanthropy beyond your lifetime

Three ways to continue giving through your account

Half of Schwab CharitableTM donors view charitable giving as a key aspect of their overall legacy.* These donors say it is important to leave a lasting impact on charitable causes close to their hearts and set children or grandchildren up to continue their giving beyond their lifetime.

While you may have charitable legacy intentions with your donor-advised fund account, execution of your intentions is best ensured with a succession plan. Schwab Charitable allows you to select any one or combination of three options:

Three ways

  • Icon of person with a hierarchy of circles to show potential successors

    Recommend family members or other individuals as successors on your account.

  • Icon of a gift box

    Recommend charities as beneficiaries of final grants of your account balance.

  • Icon of a hand holding an apple and repeating arrows for recurring and scheduled giving

    Recommend charities for recurring grants over a specific timeframe (Schwab Charitable Legacy Program).

Schwab Charitable Legacy Program

Schwab Charitable Legacy Program

You may enroll in the program and maintain your eligibility with a minimum balance of $100,000 for a core account or $100,000 for a professionally managed account. The program requires a distribution of at least 5% of your account balance each year for a minimum of five years.

Additional ways to continue your charitable legacy

A succession plan for your donor-advised fund account typically is part of an overall estate planning strategy, and the plan's primary objective is continuing donations with maximum charitable impact while reducing estate taxes. Your estate planning strategy may also include naming your donor-advised fund account or another person's donor-advised fund account as a beneficiary of testamentary contributions from your:

  • Brokerage, savings, or checking account
  • Retirement plan account or IRA
  • Will
  • Revocable living trust
  • Charitable remainder trust
  • Life insurance policy

Enrolling in succession plans

Naming or updating individual successors or charitable beneficiaries online is simple. When you log in to your account, go to the Profile menu, select My Profile, and then click on Successors and Beneficiaries.  

Related resources

  • Webcast

    Your family's charitable purpose

    Happy multi-generational family sitting on dock

    Hear from a leading philanthropic family who brings multiple generations together.

  • Article

    Legacy planning

    grandfather with grandson sitting on his shoulders in a park

    Obtain ideas you can use in discussions with your family members and advisors.

  • Podcast

    Intergenerational giving

    Giving with impact

    Hear about successful strategies for involving family in philanthropic activities.

Succession plan FAQs

1.    Whole or decimal percentages method
In your succession plan, you may allocate to successors (individuals) and/or charitable beneficiaries (organizations). For example, you may leave half of your account assets to your son or daughter to manage and the have the other half granted to the Red Cross. These allocations can be made in whole or decimal percentages, rounded to the hundredth place. Your allocations to successors and charitable beneficiaries must total 100%. You may use this method alone or in combination with the fixed amount method described below.


2.    Even split method
The even split method allows you to distribute allocations evenly between your successors and any charitable beneficiaries you designate. The allocation will appear as a fraction on your account statement. You may use this method alone or in combination with the fixed amount method described below.


3.    Fixed amount method
You may select a fixed dollar amount to be distributed to your successors and/or beneficiaries. Another option is to combine with one of the methods described above. Any successor or charitable beneficiary with a designated fixed amount will be considered first, and the remaining funds will be distributed through the secondary method elected.


Please note: Any time the fixed amount method is selected, you must allocate at least one other successor or charitable beneficiary using a different method (this can be either percentage – whole or decimal – or even split). If the account balance is higher than the fixed amount at the time the succession plan is enacted, the secondary method will be used for distribution of the amount above the fixed amount. If the account balance is lower than the fixed amount at the time the succession plan is enacted, the secondary method will be used for distribution of the entire account balance. 


For more information about this process, contact

Other account holders automatically succeed to the account after your lifetime. For example, if you and your spouse are both listed as account holders, your spouse remains on the account and becomes the primary account holder beyond your lifetime. Any account users also continue with the same privileges they had originally. 


Your succession plan will not be enacted until after all account holders' lifetimes. Account users are removed from the account at that time. 

If all of your listed successors are either deceased, unwilling to serve, or ineligible, then your contingent successor(s) may have privileges. Similarly, when your succession plan is enacted, if none of your designated charitable beneficiaries are eligible to receive a grant for any reason, then your contingent charitable beneficiary recommendation(s) will be considered.


* What Does Legacy Mean to You, Schwab Charitable Donor Forum, 2021

A donor opening a professionally managed account must recommend an independent investment advisor, who, if approved by Schwab Charitable, will manage the assets contributed to the account. Advisors must meet certain eligibility requirements, including working with Schwab Advisor Services™, a business segment of The Charles Schwab Corporation, and agree to the Investment Advisory Agreement, which is available on