Making charitable donations in your will is a good way to support charities that you care about. Many charities rely on money and resources they receive from estates. Donations by will have been widely used to distribute to charities some or all a donor's remaining assets upon their death. Donation by Last Will and Testament may help donors achieve goals of both supporting charitable endeavors and avoiding or minimizing state inheritance and federal estate taxes.
You can leave gifts to support an organization's broad purposes, or you can specify a particular program or initiative you wish to promote. A pecuniary “legacy” is simply the gift of a fixed sum of money in your will. A specific legacy is the gift of a named item in your will. Typically, its an item of value such as property, jewelry, collections, or shares of stock. Leaving a specific legacy can be as simple as the inclusion of a sentence that describes the gift and identifies the receiving organization.
You can leave a defined amount or a percentage of your estate. For example, “I level $5,000 to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital to be used to further their goal of finding cures and saving children.” Or it can say, “I leave 5% of my residuary estate to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital to be used to further their goal of finding cures and saving children.” You can also simply let the charity decide how to allocate funds by leaving your donation for “general funding purposes.”
A good tip is to try and be as specific as possible in terms of how you want the money to be used. Also, include the address of the charity and try and find out the charity's full legal name. Finally, if the charity has many locations, be specific about a local operation you would like to support. For example, if you wish to support the Animal Humane Society, make sure you designate a location by you. Or try and locate a smaller, local charity that protects animals and name them in your will. Contacting the charity for guidance in this regard and to confirm their non-profit status can be helpful as well.
We at Serra Law Group can help you draft your will to ensure that your gift is left to the charity of your choice.