Our Take on Giving USA’s “Leaving a Legacy” Report

November 13, 2019

Philanthropic-minded individuals write their first will on average when they are 44 years old and almost all (91.6%) use a legal advisor to help them.  That’s according to our friends at Giving USA who just released findings from their survey of 860 donors interested in planned giving.

What does that mean for philanthropy?

Giving USA says that more than half (53%) of these individuals established their first planned gift at the time they wrote  their first will.

These numbers mirror our own experience working with charitable New Jerseyans at the Community Foundation and call to mind a few of the real or perceived hurdles we’ve come across that sometimes keep people from being charitable in their estate.

Often, we’ll speak with an individual who has a charitable impulse but not a particular charity or charities in mind to support. They struggle with how to frame a philanthropic legacy and may shy from incorporating philanthropy into their estate.

We’ve found that three questions can help bring focus and clarity to charitable legacy planning:

  1. Where are the communities and/or regions you want to benefit?
  2. What charities and/or causes should your legacy giving support?
  3. How long should your philanthropic legacy last?

With answers to these questions, it is far easier for a community foundation or nonprofit organization to develop a custom strategy that honors one’s charitable intent and ensures their goals are met.

To review the full spectrum of options and better understand some of the mechanics of effective giving (e.g. investment flexibility, the pros and cons of an endowment, the opportunity to rollover an individual retirement account, how best to leverage an insurance policy, etc.) scan the Fact Sheet section of our website (https://cfnj.org/about-us/factsheets/) or give us a call.

Our president, Hans Dekker, is at 973-267-5533 or hdekker@cfnj.org.