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Wealthy plan gifts to charity

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Almost half the wealthiest people in the U.S. plan to leave at least part of their estates to charity, a new survey says.

The U.S. Trust Survey of Affluent Americans, published by the U.S. Trust Company of Greensboro, N.C., studied the financial plans and expectations of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

Overall, respondents say they plan to leave about 9 percent of their estates to charity if they have no living spouse, the survey says, and two in three expect those estates to be worth more than $5 million.

Educational institutions were cited as beneficiaries of those estates by 48 percent of respondents, the survey says, while health groups were cited by at 44 percent and religious institutions by 36 percent.

To protect their estates from taxes, two in three people surveyed say they will set up trusts, more than half plan to give money away, and almost one in five plan to establish a foundation.

Overall, the rich are getting richer, with more than nine in 10 reporting growth in their stock portfolios last year, and the average respondent expecting an 8 percent return this year.

More than eight in 10 say their greatest concern is that the next generation will face greater financial challenges than the current generation.

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