Your beautiful legacy
Age brings wisdom, and with that seems to come a desire to leave behind something that you believe will change the world for the better. After all, in addition to all the blessings you’ve know throughout your life, you have also lived through loss, turmoil, struggle and defeat, so you know where you’d like to see positive changes made.
One way to leave a lasting legacy is to bequest money to a charity that means a lot to you, but there are some things to consider if you’re planning to leave a charitable gift.
First of all, don’t forget that as a Foresters member, you have access to Legal Link. That means you can consult with a local legal professional for help with a variety of issues including wills, estate planning, home ownership and family law – all at a reduced cost. If you have any questions about your estate planning, including charitable giving, this is a wonderful resource that can help you make some important decisions.
Secondly, consider the following tips from Estateplanning.ca when planning a charitable gift:
- Take care of your family. When considering the amount of money you want to leave to charity, make sure the people you love will also be well taken care of.
- Make sure your estate has the amount you want to give available in cash. It’s difficult and time consuming for your executors to have to liquidate your assets in order to raise cash, so make sure they won’t have to take on that extra responsibility to fulfill your wishes.
- Consider supporting charities while you’re alive. This is something to chat about with your lawyer, but in some cases if you’re planning to donate a substantial amount to charity, you can save on taxes when you donate throughout your life rather than waiting until after you’ve died.
- Be specific. When writing out your will, use the charity’s full name and address so there is absolutely no question as to which one it is you want to support. Sometimes charities can have very similar names, so to avoid legal squabbles after you’re gone, be very clear now.
It’s also a good idea to talk to your family about your desire to include charitable giving in your will. This conversation can sometimes be a little difficult since it’s likely that your loved ones won’t be comfortable having to think about a time when you’re not here. For that reason you will likely have to be the one to start the conversation.
If you think a charitable gift might be something your family members will be surprised by, letting them know in advance will help them later during what is sure to be an emotional time for them. Discussing it in advance will also give you a chance to explain why you feel strongly about supporting the charity or charities you’ve chosen, and why that legacy means so much to you. Your loved ones might be curious about what motivated you to decide to make a charitable gift, and explaining your motivation may inspire them to consider doing the same.
Once you’ve started this conversation, it’s a good time to talk to your family about other wishes you may have, including where you hope to live if and when you need more assistance, who you would like to be your executor, and who you have chosen to be your power of attorney for both your property and personal care.
It depends upon the family, or course, but usually the fewer surprises during an emotionally challenging time, the better, so clear the air well in advance and let everyone know exactly where you stand. That way you can rest easy, knowing that the legacy you want to leave behind will be carried out exactly as you wish.
For more ideas on how to leave a lasting legacy, read our article on simple ways to change the world, and for more information on important legal and estate planning matters, read our article on exploring legal matters.