Tag Archives | bequests

Include a Charity

include-a-charityInclude a Charity

Giving is for everyone. We all have causes we care about and we all have the power to give money to help those causes. Whether you leave this earth with $10 to your name or $10 million, you can provide for you chosen charity in your will. It is one of the easiest ways to give.

There is a common misconception that donations or bequests to charity are only made by wealthy people. This is not so. They are made by people who care about the communities they live in and the causes they are passionate about. Without the generosity of these people, many of our charities would struggle even harder to survive. There are many reasons why people choose to give; to contribute to the ongoing work of a chosen charity, to leave a gift as a lasting memory or to give back to the community.

The starting point is to choose a charity you would like to help. Do a little research on the areas you are interested in and the organisations working in those areas to find one that is a good fit for you. It is a good idea to make contact with the charity to let them know of your intentions. They will then be able to include your bequest in their future planning. The next step is to contact your solicitor to arrange for your will to be updated. You might wish to leave a fixed sum of money, a percentage of your estate, or a specific asset, such as a property or an investment fund.

Make sure you tell your family and friends about your bequest so they can ensure your wishes are carried out. Who knows, you may prompt them to make their own bequest. For more information click here.

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Giving Back

GivingGiving Back

When we leave this world, we take nothing with us, but what we leave behind can make a big difference to others. It is usual for surviving family members to be the beneficiaries of an estate but increasingly, charitable organisations are benefiting from the generosity of community-minded testators. The purpose of leaving behind assets for the next generation is to contribute to their well-being. Insightful people recognise that while money contributes to well-being, so does community support. A thriving community in which people support each other is essential to well-being and happiness. Thriving communities attract new residents, employment and economic growth. So if your intention is to secure the future of your descendants, think about leaving part of your estate to organisations that provide community support and enrich people’s lives. These days, families tend not to stay in the same place. However, if each of us gave back to a community that provided support during part of our lives, all our families and future generations would be taken care of.

Giving is not just for the wealthy. Whatever the size of your estate, whether it is $50 or $50 million, a portion can be set aside. Perhaps ten percent is a reasonable portion to give; it’s a big enough portion to make a difference to your community, but small enough that it shouldn’t be missed by the other beneficiaries of your estate.

Throughout New Zealand there is a network of community foundations which provide a vehicle for people leave a gift for their community. Funds are pooled and invested in perpetuity, with the returns from the investments being paid out to charitable organisations. More information is available here. Gifts can be made during your lifetime too, which means you gain the satisfaction of seeing the difference you have made.

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Give And Be Happy

Give And Be Happy

Stephen Tindall is one of the wealthiest men in New Zealand and also one of the most generous. The Tindall Foundation gives away millions of dollars every year. Stephen says the satisfaction he gets from the Tindall Foundation is greater than what he received from turning The Warehouse into one of New Zealand’s most successful companies.

As well as giving directly to charities, the Tindall Foundation provides core funding for  Community Foundations so funds can be channeled according to the needs of each community as determined by local trustees. There are currently eleven Community Foundations throughout New Zealand.

Community Foundations play an important role. They provide a means by which people can make a gift to their local community either during their lifetime or through their will. The funds received are invested in perpetuity and the interest is used to support local charities. Donors can specify the charities they wish their funds to go to. Run by voluntary trustees, Community Foundations have very low operating costs, making them a cost effective way for people to leave a lasting legacy for their community.

Bill Holland of the Acorn Foundation advocates using what I call “The 90/10 Principle” for bequests. When you are writing your will, consider leaving 90% of your estate to your family and 10% to your local community. After all, your children have benefited from the charities in your local community while they have been growing up. Bequeathing 10% of your estate is a way of paying them back and ensuring that the next generation will continue to be supported. If your estate is worth $500,000, will your children really miss $50,000?

According to Kevin O’Connor, Chairman of the Nikau Foundation, “the happiest people are not those who get more but those who give more”. I agree.

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