The uberwealthy are often in the news for the large amounts of cash they funnel into their private foundations and other charities. But it’s important to realize that those of us who aren’t in the upper echelon can still give back to the causes we’re passionate about. One of those ways is through a charitable bequest– a gift made as part of your Will or Trust.
A charitable bequest not only serves your chosen cause but it also clearly communicates your values and ethics to your loved ones. Think of it as one last chance to to touch the lives of others from beyond the grave and to show your loved ones what truly mattered to you.
For example, I drafted a Will for a client of modest means. She was a widow with no children and had some extended family with whom she never felt very close. This client’s Will made a couple of sentimental gifts to close friends and directed that the remainder of her assets be sold and the proceeds distributed to the “no kill” animal shelter where she bought her beloved pet cat. This was her way of thanking that shelter for the gift of companionship. And through her gift, she helped to make sure that others would experience the joys of pet ownership just like she did.
Remember, too, that bequests aren’t just for those without close family ties. A charitable gift doesn’t have to leave your loved ones out in the cold because it isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. You can leave a good chunk of your estate to your kids or grandkids and still designate that a percentage go to charity.
If you are passionate about giving back to your community but aren’t sure how to accomplish your goals, consider asking your estate planning attorney about a charitable bequest provision in your Will or Trust. You might not be in the top 1%, but you can still make a difference and set an example that your loved ones can be proud of.
If you have any questions or comments about estate planning, charitable bequests, or other gift planning methods, please contact me.