Every year, August marks "Make a Will Month," a time when each of us is encouraged to take a critical step towards securing our family's future, while also making a lasting impact on the causes we care about.
Though the idea of drafting a will might seem daunting, it is an essential endeavor that ensures your wishes are enacted.
This year, when creating or reviewing your will, consider the added significance of including a charitable gift, also called a bequest, in any amount, and discover how this simple act can create a profound impact for generations to come.
Plus, with the LIFE & LEGACY PLUS initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation launching in South Jersey earlier this year, you can help South Jersey Jewish organizations earn new incentives for your legacy commitment and when you formalize your will (or other legacy gift). Contact any participating organization's legacy team or contact the JCF directly for any questions you may have. This initiative is sponsored locally by SEI.
Your Will Conveys Your Desired Outcomes
A will is a legal document that outlines how your assets and possessions will be distributed after your passing. It allows you to appoint guardians for your minor children, specify funeral arrangements, and designate beneficiaries.
Without a valid will, your estate could be distributed according to state laws, potentially leaving your loved ones without proper support or leaving disputes to be settled in court.
"Make a Will Month" reminds us to tackle this essential task. It's a time to set aside any hesitations and take control of your legacy. By working with a legal professional or even an online service, you can ensure that your wishes are accurately documented and legally binding.
Leaving a Legacy Gift: Beyond Material Possessions
While making provisions for loved ones is a common reason for creating a will, consider extending your impact beyond your immediate circle by leaving a legacy gift. A legacy gift, involves designating a percentage or specific portion of your assets or estate to a nonprofit organization close to your heart.
When designating the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. as a beneficiary, your after-lifetime gift will be endowed to support the cause(s) you choose, such as the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and its family of agencies, a synagogue, day school, or any other 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Even a small percentage of your estate can have a substantial impact on organizations striving to create positive change.
To leave a gift to the JCF, visit our Bequest Language page to learn more about text to include in your will.
We also encourage you to let us know about your legacy plans. By doing so, we can establish an endowment fund agreement to ensure that your philanthropic goals are achieved. You can even donate current dollars into your endowment fund if and when desired to start your legacy now and gain important tax benefits.
The Lasting Impact of Your Generosity
A legacy gift doesn't just benefit the causes you support; it also reflects your values, passions, and desire to make the world a better place. Your legacy becomes a testament to the mark you've left during your lifetime and the causes that matter most to you. Additionally, legacy gifts can provide financial stability to nonprofits, allowing them to plan for the future and continue their essential work, knowing that they will receive vital annual income from your endowment fund.
Getting Started: Crafting Your Legacy
To include a legacy gift in your will, it's advisable to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning. Additionally many online websites can facilitate the process. (Note: the JCF does not provide accounting, financial, or legal advice, nor do we endorse specific professional advisors to work with, though we invite you to contact us for a list of local advisors who you may opt to consult.) Once you complete your will, be sure to communicate your wishes clearly to your loved ones and the organization(s) you choose to support, so your legacy is honored as you envision.
To summarize, "Make a Will Month" serves as a timely reminder of the importance of creating a will to secure your family's future and avoid potential conflicts. This year, take the opportunity to go beyond the conventional and consider leaving a legacy gift. By doing so, you ensure that your values, passions, and philanthropy extend far beyond your lifetime.
Remember, you have one chance to leave a legacy, and a gift in your will to the JCF will help ensure your legacy continues.