Almost everyone knows the first names of both of their parents. And most people know the first names of their four grandparents. But unless they are interested in genealogy, few people know the first names of all eight great-grandparents.
There is a way, however, for your history and values to live on for many generations: You can make a gift to charity that continues giving for years to come. A thoughtful gift in your estate plan can perpetuate your generosity. Your gifts, coupled with those of other donors, will enable your favorite charities to continue their important work.
It’s possible to leave assets to benefit both loved ones and the organizations that have been important in your life. For example, you can create a trust that pays income first to family members before assets are distributed to charity (a charitable remainder trust). You can even fund the trust with the balance in your IRA or other retirement plans and avoid the income tax that would otherwise be due. Another trust pays income first to charity for a period of time and then passes assets on to family members (a charitable lead trust).
A gift in your estate is a way of preserving your life’s values and supporting the organizations you felt were important. Your gift can be earmarked for a particular program or area of interest, allowing you to make a mark that will last long beyond your lifetime.