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Unlocking the Power of Legacy Giving in Philanthropy

Unlocking the Power of Legacy Giving in Philanthropy

Legacy giving is an indispensable facet of estate planning and philanthropy, offering a unique opportunity to leave a lasting impact on cherished charitable causes. While it often garners attention from high-profile individuals, legacy giving is a pathway accessible to virtually anyone with philanthropic aspirations. Athens Area Community Foundation is dedicated to helping you understand the essence of legacy charitable gifts, their profound significance, and how they can be seamlessly integrated into estate planning conversations, all with the end goal of providing clients with peace of mind.

Understanding Legacy Giving

Legacy gifts, also known as planned giving, encompass the notion of leaving behind a post-life gift structured in advance. These gifts are not confined to the realm of the wealthy or famous; they are a meaningful option for individuals from all walks of life. 

Legacy giving is not solely about financial planning; it’s about storytelling. It’s an opportunity for individuals to weave their narrative into the fabric of their chosen causes and leave a lasting impact on their community. It’s about ensuring that their values, beliefs, and visions endure, carrying forward the torch of compassion and change. It allows donors to express their passion for education, healthcare, the environment, or any other cause close to their hearts.

When discussing legacy gifts, it’s essential to help clients recognize the various assets at their disposal, such as cash, stocks (particularly those with significant appreciation), real estate, life insurance, and even an IRA beneficiary designation—an option renowned for its tax efficiency. Careful asset selection, guided by a financial advisor’s expertise, becomes paramount.

Documenting Your Philanthropic Vision

Transforming philanthropic intentions into reality requires meticulous documentation. Legacy gifts should find their place in a client’s will or trust documents. This not only ensures clarity in the distribution of assets but also helps avoid potential disputes. Given that a startling two-thirds of Americans lack essential estate planning documents, this step assumes even greater significance.

Estate planning conversations can often be uncomfortable due to their association with mortality. However, legacy giving introduces a more approachable facet of estate planning, offering a smoother transition into broader discussions about one’s overall estate plan. It serves as an icebreaker, enabling clients to explore charitable contributions without dwelling solely on the end of life.

Flexibility in Philanthropy

Flexibility is another compelling aspect of legacy giving. Most legacy gifts remain subject to alteration or revocation while the client is alive. This feature is particularly appealing to clients who want to include charitable giving in their estate plans but also value the idea of adaptability as financial circumstances and family dynamics evolve.

Community foundations like ours can be invaluable partners in the pursuit of legacy giving and keeping it flexible. One effective technique is for clients to establish a fund at the community foundation, outlining their charitable wishes for future distributions to specific organizations. Estate planning documents can then designate this fund as the beneficiary of charitable bequests. This approach empowers clients to adjust the fund’s terms throughout their lifetime, ensuring it aligns with their evolving philanthropic priorities.

The Impact of Legacy Giving at Athens Area Community Foundation

The Legacy Society at the Athens Area Community Foundation stands as a testament to the power of legacy giving. Families and individuals who have incorporated our community foundation into their estate planning are investing in a legacy that grows over time, benefiting the organizations they hold dear. We invite clients to become part of our Legacy Society, where their planned gifts are nurtured and deployed in line with their vision.

While it is not always well understood, legacy giving represents an exceptional opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds to make enduring contributions to the causes they hold near to their hearts. By seamlessly integrating legacy giving into estate planning conversations, clients can navigate this essential aspect of their financial legacy with confidence and purpose. This not only ensures a lasting impact on the community and causes they care deeply about but also offers a profound sense of fulfillment and purpose. 

As we look forward to working with you and your philanthropic clients, we remain committed to helping individuals solidify their legacy giving plans, ensuring that their charitable legacies continue to shine brightly for generations to come.

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The Athens Area Community Foundation is a public grantmaking foundation that builds community by encouraging long term giving through funds created by caring donors.

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