Leaving a Legacy: Establishing a Charitable Fund

If you’ve written a will, you may have designated many beneficiaries. Most of us have financial assets and personal belongings that we want specific people to have.  

Remembering your friends and family in your will is a great place to start dispersing your assets, but what if you also want some of your estate to be used to support worthy causes? How can you create a lasting legacy of support for the causes that matter to you, even after you have died?  

There are many ways to give, and you can specify how you want to do so in your will.  

  • Donate your retirement assets to charity: This is a pretty straightforward process in which you’ll simply fill out a designated beneficiary form. You can get this form from your employer, plan administrator, bank or financial services firm. If you’re married, your spouse may be required to consent to this charitable designation. Donating retirement assets as part of your estate plan can provide significant tax benefits.  
  • Donate your house or vehicle: Through charities such as Real Estate for Causes, Vehicles for Veterans, Wheels for Wishes and Boat Angel, you can donate tangible property to benefit those in need while giving your heirs a tax break.  
  • Charitable trust: You can give to charity after you die by creating a charitable remainder trust (CRT). This makes a legal transfer of your assets to a trustee who manages the assets and makes distributions to a beneficiary. This type of trust can name a group of beneficiaries with common traits, but not specific people.  
  • Endowment: An endowment is a perpetual gift given to a beneficiary at intervals, typically annually. This type of permanent, self-sustaining fund can be added to later, perhaps by your heirs, and it continues to produce income by retaining the bulk of the money in an investment fund and paying only a portion each year to the beneficiary. With sound investment, payments can actually increase over time.   

It’s smart to make arrangements for the things that are important to you before it’s too late. That’s why you should make sure all your important documents, including your will, are in order well before you have need of them. While you’re squaring all that away, though, don’t forget to think about preplanning for your funeral.  

When you preplan, you make sure your wishes will be honored. You can choose the tone of your services, pick your final resting place, decide on music and readings that represent you as a person, and much more. Perhaps the best thing about preplanning, however, is that it’s one of the last gifts you leave your family. Relieved of the stress of answering questions about what you would have wanted, your family is free to comfort each other and begin to heal.  

Whether you have an immediate need or are interested in preplanning, Greenwood can help. Call us at 619.450.1479 to learn about all we have to offer.

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