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Make-A-Will Month and the Power of Planned Giving

August is National Make-A-Will Month. You may be hearing about estate planning more this month than usual, which makes it an especially good time to review your estate plans or get your wills and trusts in order. Did you know that two out of three Americans have no estate planning documents?

If you’re not sure where to start, you might be interested in FreeWill, an online free tool to expeditiously make a will. FreeWill also offers legacy planning as part of their service, where you can indicate how you’d like to leave a charitable legacy to various nonprofits. This is not at all a requirement to use their tool, however. A similar online platform is Giving Docs, which provides estate planning tools for a small fee.

Regardless of how it comes together, charitable giving is an important piece of any estate plan. Bold, legacy-making plans are frequently in the news because of the high-profile people who establish them. You too can leave a legacy by supporting your favorite charitable causes, including Rose Community Foundation.

Here’s a simplified guide about leaving a legacy to a charitable organization:

Q: What is a legacy gift to a charity?

A: A post-life gift that you can structure in advance. Legacy gifts are often referred to as planned giving.

Q: What assets can be used to make a legacy gift? 

A: Like the gifts to charity that you already make, cash, stock (especially highly-appreciated stock), real estate, life insurance and an IRA beneficiary designation (which is extremely tax effective) are all examples of assets that can be the subject of a legacy gift. A legacy gift can be expressed in your estate planning documents as a dollar amount, percentage of the whole, or a legacy gift of the assets themselves. You will want to choose assets carefully, potentially enlisting financial advisors for assistance.

Q: What tools does Rose Community Foundation offer to help with planned giving?

A: A particularly useful approach is to establish a fund at Rose Community Foundation, which lays out your wishes for charitable distributions to specific organizations. Your estate planning documents can, in turn, simply name the fund as the beneficiary of charitable bequests. You can adjust the terms of the fund anytime during your lifetime to reflect evolving charitable priorities.

Our team looks forward to working with you as you consider your legacy giving plans, whether in August or any time of year!

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