LEAVE A LEGACY® is a national public awareness campaign conducted by the National Committee on Planned Giving, designed to educate the public about the benefits of leaving bequests to charity in wills and estate plans. The program depends on a dynamic coalition of nonprofit organizations, financial advisors, and estate-planning professionals to support local programs, such as the Peoria Area LE AVE A LEGACY® initiative. Below are some common questions about the process.
- How do I leave a gift for my favorite nonprofit organization? It’s easy. You can arrange for a gift several ways. The most common is through a charitable gift in a will or living trust. Many people set aside a certain dollar amount; others leave a percentage of their estate or any assets left over after their family has been provided for. Some people donate something they own-like a car or their home. Others leave a paid life insurance policy, retirement account, or other financial investment.
- Do I tell the charity that I’ve left a gift? That is up to you. Charities often like to know in advance so they can recognize your generosity. They can also tell you about specific opportunities for giving.
- Must I have a sizable estate to leave a gift? Everyone can leave a gift. "Estate" is simply a word used to describe any money, property, or personal belongings you may have at the time of your death. Most people leave an estate when they die, even though they may not have a great deal of wealth. Many gifts are less than $1,000.
- How do I leave a gift to a specific organization? A charitable bequest won’t take effect unless you state your intention in your will or living trust. Without a will, you may lose control over your belongings after death. Your property and finances are settled according to state laws, whether or not they coincide with your wishes.
- Who can help me arrange a gift? If you have a professional you’re working with-a financial planner, lawyer, accountant, or insurance agent-talk with them about leaving a gift. A professional can tell you about the tax benefits of planned gifts. You can also call a nonprofit organization directly for assistance.
You can learn more about LEAVE A LEGACY® by visiting its Web site at www.leavealegacy.org. For more local information, visit www.peoria-arealal.org. AA!