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A Will Can Be the Ultimate Way to Pass on Your Jewish Values


In case you haven't heard, August is "Make-a-Will" month, and this theme ties-in closely with what the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. does in encouraging legacy giving.


In the August 10th issue of the Jewish Community Voice, the JCF explores how a will can be a vital way to pass on your Jewish values.


The following is a reprint of the column:


Ever notice that every day and month seem to have a theme? Some are playful (“Hug a Bear Day” on November 7), while others serve important reminders (“Breast Cancer Awareness Month” in October), and so on. As it happens, the August theme, “Make-A-Will Month,” is timely and relevant to what we do here at the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. Please consider taking this theme to heart.


By definition, a will is a legal document outlining one’s afterlifetime wishes for asset distribution and childcare, instead of letting courts decide. But in reality, a will is even much more than that. A will becomes your last message to your family, friends, and community. It’s the ultimate way to express that you value Jewish continuity.


When creating or updating your will, you can designate a portion of your assets to benefit any Southern New Jersey Jewish nonprofit, such as the Jewish Federation. With this gift, you will assist future generations and extend your legacy of giving back to others, as you may do annually.


Leaving a gift, also known as a bequest, in your will can be easy to do, and the JCF is here to work with you and your trusted attorney to ensure your philanthropic wishes are kept. With that in mind, here are some frequently asked questions regarding leaving a gift in one’s will:


– How do I make sure my beneficiaries receive enough inheritance to be financially secure, while I also support charity?


Consider gifting a percentage of your estate. Perhaps you want to support two beneficiaries equally. Instead of leaving 50% of your estate to each beneficiary, you can leave, say, 45% to each, and the remaining 10- benefits the charity(-ies) of your choice.


– How do I help my loved ones maintain privacy when my charitable bequest is revealed in my will?


According to JCF Board member and local estate attorney Jocelyn Margolin Borowsky, “Leaving a bequest is important if you want to ensure that the intended beneficiary will receive the gift. However, leaving a bequest in a trust provides the benefit of privacy compared to a will. A trust is private, whereas a will is a public document. A sizable bequest could attract unwanted solicitations if it is provided under a will rather than in a trust.”


– How do I make certain that my legacy gift lasts for future generations and isn’t spent in full right away?


The JCF accepts bequests on behalf of legacy donors, and we professionally invest bequeathed assets to form endowment funds. This way, your donation can grow over time, and a percentage (usually 5%) is spun off to the designated beneficiary organization every year for generations, enabling your legacy of giving back to others to continue via your named fund.


– What if I already have a will established? Do I have to create a new will to include a charitable gift?


You may be able to add on a codicil that modifies the will to reflect your new wishes. Each will is unique, so check with your attorney regarding your options. For some, it may be best to add the charitable gift when revising your will with other updates. In the meantime, leaving a gift in your IRA or life insurance policy can be an easy and cost-free way to leave a charitable gift and lasting legacy.


Ready to embrace the “Make- A-Will” theme? I’m happy to talk with you about the mitzvah of leaving a gift to benefit our community’s future. Please contact me at (856) 673-2571 or dsnyder@jfedsnj.org.