Generosity Lives On (Part Two)
In Part One of this blog series, we looked at the advantages of giving to charity in your will. Part Two explores how one couple’s carefully planned legacy of giving is teaching a new generation to be generous.
Throughout their 53 years together, Mike and Carol Dempsey* nurtured strong family ties with their children and gave their time and money to improve the lives of others. Giving back was part of their lifestyle. When Carol passed away two years ago and then Mike last year, their wills reflected this shared passion for living life generously.
After providing for their children, the Dempseys directed the remainder of their estate to establish a 30-year giving legacy with Abundance Canada.
A Lifestyle of Giving Back
From early on in their marriage, Mike and Carol understood the importance of having a will that reflected their values. Anytime a significant life event occurred – the birth of their kids, the growth of their business, sale of assets, a death in the family – they updated their wills. These updates often also included modest charitable bequests, as the Dempseys also made connections with a variety of charities over the years.
However, Mike and Carol’s circumstances and financial position changed significantly as time went on. Their careers advanced. Their children grew up and left home. They sold their business. It soon became clear they were sitting on a perfect opportunity to share the resources they had accumulated in a meaningful and creative way.
A Plan for Giving Now and in Their Will
Mike & Carol were looking for discretion and inclusivity in their planning, and flexibility and tax efficiency in their giving. They contacted Abundance Canada to help develop a plan to accomplish their charitable goals. I worked with them to develop a customized a Generosity Plan™ that reflected their values and their commitment to helping others, not only in the moment but well into the future. They had big plans. In addition to opening a Gifting Fund™ for charitable giving during their lifetime, they named Abundance Canada as the charitable beneficiary in their will.
With the assistance of their trusted legal and financial advisors, the Dempseys structured their bequest in a prudent and tax-efficient manner. Upon their death, proceeds from the sale of their personal assets would provide the funds to extend their Abundance Canada Gifting Fund™. Death would not be the end of their generosity story; they would be able to continue giving for another 30-years.
A Detailed Generosity Plan
The Dempseys wanted Abundance Canada to manage their Gifting Fund™ and requested that 100% of the annual earnings from their fund go to selected charities for the first 15 years, after which time the initial principal amount would be withdrawn over the remaining 15 years.
Within these instructions, Mike & Carol designated 50% of the annual disbursements to the charities that had been near and dear to their hearts, while giving their surviving children discretion to recommend which charities should receive the remaining 50%. Mike and Carol carefully considered all the details of their Generosity Plan, which included several additional terms to ensure that after their passing, the Gifting Fund would be managed exactly as they wished.
The Dempsey’s additional terms were:
- Abundance Canada will notify each of Mike & Carol’s charities up front of the expected amount and duration of the gifts for planning purposes.
- Abundance Canada will meet with Mike & Carol’s representatives annually to confirm disbursements and provide follow-up fund statements and thank you letters.
- Representatives have discretion to advise on fund investment, make any changes to the recipient charities if necessary, i.e. the charity is no longer in existence or their mission has changed significantly, and request anonymity.
- Representatives have discretion to index the annual disbursements to the fund growth in order to wrap up the family foundation within the 30-year timeline.
Mike and Carol tasked their two children with the wonderful opportunity and responsibility of carrying out their parents’ Generosity Plan. Each year, they get to reconnect as a family, confirm their parents’ disbursement instructions, and provide their own recommendations. Of course, Mike and Carol hoped this would also give their children a chance to remember the good times together, reflect on their values and beliefs, and consider the possibility of starting their own legacies.
A Legacy of Giving
Later this year, I will meet with the Dempsey children to review their parent’s Generosity Plan and to confirm the first disbursements from their parents’ Gifting Fund. With their parents passing still fresh, I anticipate there will be a mixture of somberness and celebration as they reminisce and make recommendations of their own. These bright young people have already started dreaming of the charities they want to support in addition to those Mike and Carol previously recommended.
In time, Mike and Carol’s grandchildren, and maybe even their great grandchildren, will also have a chance to learn about the joy of giving through this enduring family legacy. Who knows what future generosity the gift in their will might inspire?
Contributed by Kevin Davidson
Gift Planning Consultant
*Pseudonyms used to preserve the privacy of the individuals sharing their story