Yet, it turns out that most people do want to use their estates to help change the world. Research shows that people give up to six times more during the estate planning process if they’re reminded to think about posthumous philanthropy.
Some people know which causes they would like to assist; they’ve been working on issues close to their heart for years. Others prefer to explore and understand the impact they may have through different options. Whatever the motivation, here are some insights on why it’s a good idea to think about leaving some assets to causes that are meaningful to you:
A Forever Impact
An Internal Revenue Service study found that a typical bequest is almost three times larger than the total amount that person has donated in his or her lifetime. Choosing causes on which you’re going to have an enormous impact is immensely satisfying. But with so much money at stake, it’s worth thinking carefully about where you want to have impact and why.
Find Joy in Planning
Only 54 percent of U.S. adults over 55 have a will that directs where their money will go once they pass away. And fewer than 30 percent of all Americans have an up-to-date will. One big reason so many of us die without making our wishes known to our loved ones and others is that dying is an event we may not want to contemplate. Instead frame the discussion in a more positive light. Focus on the impact you would like to make from supporting a local food bank, building homes for people in need, caring for abandoned and neglected animals – whatever triggers happy memories and has your heart. By focusing on the positive, you can transform a potentially negative process into a source of positivity and emotional satisfaction.
Gain a New Perspective
A will is actually one of the most profound manifestations of your own values. In making the decision about who will receive their hard-earned assets, people often end up with a deeper understanding of themselves, what matters most to them, and why.
Making a bequest in a will is typically straightforward. You simply specify the share of your assets or absolute value you would like to go to a good cause. When doing this, it’s worth writing a note explaining why the issue matters to you and any specific element of the nonprofit’s work you prefer to assist. For more complex or larger bequests, it’s best to talk to an attorney.
The Cornerstone Society of Central Oklahoma Habitat is made up of individuals who are extending their charitable giving to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity beyond their own lifetime through a planned or deferred gift. If you plan to include Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity in your will, please share your intentions with us so that we may properly thank you. Planned gifts help to ensure the future of Central Oklahoma Habitat’s mission, while providing both immediate and future tax benefits to donors. If you are considering a legacy gift to COHFH and have questions, please contact our office at 405-232-4828.