Charitable remainder trusts generally pay income beneficiaries a fixed amount or a fixed percentage of the trust's assets each year. That's not ideal for every client, though, so planners are increasingly turning to variations on these trusts, allowing them to better tailor income flows to clients' particular needs.

There are two main types of charitable remainder trusts: unitrusts pay income beneficiaries a fixed percentage of trust assets, while annuity trusts pay out a fixed amount. Among the unitrusts are net income with makeup charitable remainder unitrusts, or NIMCRUTs. "A NIMCRUT can be used if the donor does not have an immediate need for higher income," says Rob O'Dell, co-founder of Wheaton Wealth Partners, with offices in Wheaton, Ill. and Naples, Fla.

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