Make a Statement (Part One)
Practical Benefits of Giving to Charity in Your Will
Your last will and testament are more than just a statement of what to do with your valuables – it is a statement of your values. Beliefs. Family. Charity. Abundance Canada clients Paul and Janet* had drawn up their wills many years ago, but as they got older, they realized the documents no longer reflected their values. They called me to discuss leaving a gift to charity in their wills.
What Story Does Your Charitable Gift Tell?
A charitable gift in a will, also known as a charitable bequest, is a lasting statement of your generosity. It ensures that the charitable organizations and causes you care about continue to receive support even when you’re not there to write the cheques. You can donate a dollar amount, a percentage of your estate, a specific asset, or the residual amount of your estate.
On the surface, leaving a gift in a will is simple. It can be accomplished by having a brief conversation with your lawyer and adding a few sentences to your will, but that does not mean it’s an easy decision to make. Think through your goals. How do you want to divide your estate? What impact do you hope your charitable gift will have? What causes or charities are you passionate about? Do you want to impact one cause, or are there several qualified charitable organizations you are keen to support?
Taking Time to Plan Your Giving
I met with Paul and Janet, and we took the time to carefully consider their charitable gift. They had lived frugally and now found themselves in a very strong position financially. They did not have any children and their extended family did not require any financial support. Paul and Janet really wanted their money to do some good in the world. They were committed to modelling generosity, compassion, care for the environment, and a longstanding commitment to world health and wellness.
Your charitable gift might be the largest donation you will ever make. Therefore, it is important to seek professional advice from your lawyer, your financial advisor, and a gift planning professional. An Abundance Canada gift planning consultant will help you think through your charitable goals and map out a customized Generosity Plan™ that looks at the whole picture of your generosity. After discussing their current finances, values, goals, and charitable options, Paul and Janet decided to leave their entire estate to charity.Paul and Janet’s wills no longer reflected their values. They contacted Abundance and discovered a simple way to model their values by adding a legacy gift as part of their Generosity Plan.
In Part 2, I will look at how Paul and Janet’s Generosity Plan gave them the flexibility to easily manage their charitable bequest and simplify their giving today.
Contributed by Yvonne Douma
Gift Planning Consultant