Legacy Giving: Including Us in Your Will
In life, most people require some kind of assistance, whether it's physical, financial or spiritual. And during life's struggles, we are often reminded that more must be done to continue positive, humane acts of kindness, and to sustain programs for personal enrichment. We wish more funding were available for medical research, for domestic abuse shelters, or a treasured arts or music program.
Charitable organizations need financial assistance from people like you to continue their work. More than 80 percent of Americans contribute to the nonprofit groups of their choice throughout their lifetimes.
By making bequests and other planned gifts, you can continue to help organizations that are making an important difference in your community.
What better way to thank the people or organizations that have had an impact on your life, than to make a contribution from your estate through a bequest?
Gifts large and small are important.
I have children and relatives. Shouldn't I leave my entire estate to them? This is perhaps the number one cause for reluctance when making a bequest. The truth is that, depending on the current tax laws, leaving a gift to charity in your will may reduce the estate tax burden on your heirs significantly. We can work closely with your financial advisor or attorney to learn how giving may actually benefit your family after you're gone.
Ordinary people can show extraordinary generosity by leaving legacy gifts to charity in their wills and estate plans. Kindness is evident in people from all walks of life - with different income levels, professions, and passions. Because of their indelible love of life and concern for others, their memories will never be extinguished, and their gifts will remind us all that we, too, can make a difference in the lives that follow.
A charitable bequest is simply a distribution from your estate to a charitable organization through your last will and testament. There are different kinds of bequests. For each, you must use very specific language to indicate the precise direction of your assets, and to successfully carry out your final wishes. In any charitable bequest, be sure to name the recipient accurately. A bequest to "a local healthcare cause" might go to a number of health-related entities for any number of causes, when you meant it to go to the hospital foundation in your community to benefit hospice care for families.
Do you have an estate?
Your "estate" is the sum of your assets, including property you own, insurance policies, retirement accounts, cash on hand, etc. Some people may have very large estates, but even people who don't have an estate often have the resources to make a charitable bequest. If every adult in America made a will and included a bequest of just $100, billions of dollars would flow to charitable causes every year.
Below, we have listed some of the more common kinds of bequests, and some bequest language. We always recommend that you carefully review the terms of your will with a professional trained in handling trusts and estates.
General Bequests are legacies left to certain people or causes that come from the general value of the estate, and are made by designating a specific dollar amount, a particular asset or a fixed percentage of your estate to the cause of your choice.
General bequest language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath to Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation, Miles City, Montana, the sum of $________ (or a description of the specific asset), for the benefit of Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation and its general purposes."
Specific Bequests are made when a particular item or property is bequeathed for a designated purpose. (i.e., instruments bequeathed to the local school district for use in music education; dollar funds to be used in the operation of a school or church.)
Specific bequest language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath to Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation, Miles City, Montana, the sum of $_______ (or a description of a specific asset), for the benefit of Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation to be used for the following purpose: (state the purpose). If at any time in the judgment of the trustees of Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation it is impossible or impracticable to carry out exactly the designated purpose, they shall determine an alternative purpose closest to the designated purpose."
Residuary Bequests are made when you intend to leave the residue portion of your assets after other terms of the will have been satisfied.
Residuary bequest language:
"All the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, I give to Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation, Miles City, Montana, for its general purposes."
Contingency Bequests allow you to leave a portion of your estate to a particular charity if your named beneficiary does not survive you.
Contingency bequest language:
"I devise and bequeath the residue of the property, real and personal and wherever situated, owned by me at my death, to (name of beneficiary), if (she/he) survives me. If (name of beneficiary) does not survive me, I devise and bequeath my residuary estate to Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation, Miles City, Montana, for its general purposes."
Without a will, there is no mechanism in place to make a bequest, so here are the steps you should take to make sure your wishes are granted.
- Make a list of organizations or causes that you would like to support. A representative from Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation can also share ideas with you on various causes, projects and initiatives that are currently in the works or are planned that might resonate with you.
- Make a detailed list of your assets (financial, real estate, vehicles, jewelry, collectibles, musical instruments, etc.)
- Set up an appointment with Holy Rosary Healthcare Foundation, your financial advisor or attorney. These professionals will help sensitively guide you through the process.