Leave A Legacy
Leave A Legacy

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LEAVE A LEGACY® is an unprecedented regional collaborative effort to encourage people from all walks of life to make a planned gift to their favorite charitable or nonprofit organizations.


Many of our area's charitable or nonprofit organizations will struggle to survive in the coming years without an increase in planned giving. That's why many people who give generously to their favorite charitable organizations while they are alive are concerned that their contributions will be missed when they're gone. And rightly so. Information from our probate courts shows that only a small percentage of local wills leave any money to charity. People can continue to make a difference with a little planning.

How large does a "legacy" have to be?

While some gifts may be large, many are small. Regardless of size, all gifts are important to help continue the vital work of our charitable or nonprofit organizations.

Where do I begin?

Talk to your professional financial advisors and begin collecting information so you can determine the best approach for leaving your legacy. Making a bequest, or other testamentary gift, is actually quite simple. It can be as easy as including a bequest in your will, or changing the name of the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or an IRA. It is important that you consult a legal or tax advisor when making decisions to leave a charitable gift through a will or from your estate.

If I make a bequest now, how can I be sure to have enough money to cover my expenses through the rest of my life?

Many donors worry that by leaving a legacy, they will not have enough assets to see them through the rest of their lives or through any difficulties, such as a health crisis. They may also be concerned that family members or children will not benefit from receiving the full sum of their estates. Any professional financial advisor can show you how a legacy gift can generate tax savings and/or an income stream for yourself, a spouse or children.

Are legacies always given in the form of money?

Gifts may come in the form of money, property, an investment or percentage of an estate. Tax benefits often accompany a gift from a will or estate.

Must I have an estate in order to leave a gift?

An estate is simply a word used to describe any property, money or personal belongings you have at the time of your death. Most people leave an estate when they die, even though they may not have a great deal of wealth. Anyone can arrange to leave a charitable gift from his or her estate.

Do I have to include in my will my wish to leave a gift to a specific organization?

To be certain that the group receives the gift, you should state your intentions in your will. Without a will, you lose control over your belongings after death. Your property and finances are settled according to state laws, whether or not they coincide with your or your family's wishes.

How do I leave a gift for an organization that I admire?

Many individuals choose to leave a gift through their will. There are many different ways to leave gifts to charitable or nonprofit organizations. It is important to talk to your attorney and advisors about your charitable plans.

Do I tell the charity I've left the gift?

This is up to you. Charities like to know in advance so they can both recognize your generosity and make sure they can accommodate your wishes.

How do I leave a gift in memory of a person or for a specified purpose?

A gift is a wonderful way to recognize someone who has made a difference in your life. You may also want to give to a specific cause like research or to a new building. This kind of memorial gift can be arranged in your will, the same way that you would leave a personal gift from your estate. You just need to make it clear that the gift is given in memory of a particular person or for a specific use.

Where can I find out more about how to LEAVE A LEGACY?

It is critical to seek the advice of your attorney and other advisors including accountants, insurance agents, investments planners, professional trust officers and financial planners. Development professionals at charitable or nonprofit organizations can also provide helpful information.

Important tips about leaving a legacy:

(This information should not be construed as legal advice. In making a charitable gift, it is always important to seek the advice of your attorney and professional financial advisors.)


If you have any additional questions, email liz@leavealegacyspm.org.

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