The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 renewed the rule allowing one (over 59-1/2) to made a charitable donation of IRA funds without claiming the money as income. If you itemize, you can already take donations off your taxable income so this would have no affect on you. But, if in retirement, your deductions don’t total enough to itemize, this is a way of saving the tax due on the money you’d withdraw from the IRA by donating it directly to the charity.
Also remember, that this year (2009) the requirement to take RMDs is suspended, so if you don’t need the money to spend, start to review your marginal rate and consider a conversion to a Roth IRA. For a Married Couple, filing joint, taxable income up to $67,900 is taxed at 15%, this is a great opportunity to get the tax out of the way while it’s still only 15%. Something to consider.