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You should always check with your own tax advisor or trusts and estates attorney because individual situations vary substantially. It is generally permissible to leave your IRA or other tax-deferred account to charity. At your death, the full value of the account would be included in your estate, but since it is being donated to a charity, it would generally qualify for the unlimited charitable deduction.
With any employer-sponsored retirement plan (e.g., a 401(k)), there must be spousal consent to leave the balance of your retirement account to a charity. You also must bear in mind the minimum required distribution rules, the needs of your beneficiary, and your financial needs during your lifetime.