How to Leave a Gift to Charity
Planned Giving in Your Last Will
Benefits of Donating to Charity in Your Last Will
Types of Legacy Gifts
- General gift: a specific amount of money or percentage of your estate
- Residuary gift: any remaining assets after all other requests have been fulfilled
- Specific gift: the donation of a particular item, such as furniture or a vehicle
- Contingent gift: a donation based on certain conditions being met, such as your main beneficiary passing away before you
Types of Assets You Can Give to Charity
- Real estate, such as land or residential property
- Personal property, including vehicles, artwork, antiques, or jewelry
- Proceeds of your life insurance policy or your retirement plan
- Investments such as stocks and mutual funds
- Partnership interest in a business
Choosing a Charity for Your Legacy Gift
How to Include a Legacy Gift in Your Last Will
When you’re writing your Will for the first time:
Decide what type of legacy gift best suits your estate planning goals and financial position.
For example, you can give a specific amount, leave a percentage of your estate, or donate the residue of your assets.
Decide which assets, such as money or personal property, you’d like to leave to charity.
Confirm your organization’s legal name, charitable registration number, and preferred wording for legacy gifts. Use the exact language so there is no ambiguity in your Will.
When you create your Last Will, designate your charity as a beneficiary of your assets and assign them a gift.
It’s a good idea to name an alternate beneficiary for your legacy gift in case your foundation no longer exists when you pass away.
Let your charity know that you’ve thought of them in your estate plans. Charities often take the opportunity to thank donors in various ways.
When you already have a Last Will:
If you’re changing your main beneficiary or making a major change to the distribution of your assets, it’s a good idea to create a new Last Will. Follow the directions provided above for including a legacy gift in your new Will.
If you’re adding a charity as a beneficiary, you can amend or change your Last Will with a Codicil (also known as an amendment or addendum).
- If you do not wish to make any changes to your Will, you can ask your family and friends in your End-of-Life Plan to send their condolences by donating to your favorite charity instead of sending flowers.