Leaving a Lasting Impact: Answering Your Questions on Legacy Giving

As the 2023 tax season wraps up and planning for 2024 begins, now is a suitable time to explore the benefits of legacy giving. Legacy giving, also known as planned giving, offers a way to support causes and the community you care about while potentially reducing your tax burden. Certain types of planned gifts can offer tax benefits during your lifetime while supporting charitable organizations in the long term. Additionally, by designating nonprofits as beneficiaries in your estate plan, you can leave a lasting legacy that aligns with your values and goals. 

To learn more about the tax advantages and strategies of legacy giving, you can explore reputable resources like the IRS website’s section on Charitable Contributions.  

Here we answer seven common questions about one of the fastest growing charitable giving vehicles in the U.S. according to the National Philanthropic Trust. 

1. What is the primary purpose of Legacy Giving?

Legacy Giving, or “Will Planning” or “Planned Giving” is an opportunity for you to ensure that your assets and wealth will be managed and dispersed according to your wishes, allowing you to create a legacy that reflects your values and passions to make a positive difference in your community. 

2. When is the ideal time to start thinking about legacy giving? 

Planning for your legacy can begin as early as 18 years old. At this age, you begin to attain financial independence and take charge of your financial choices, including how you allocate funds for charitable purposes. The decision to engage in planned giving should be based on your readiness to actively shape the impact of your money on future generations. 

Remarkably, Stanford Social Innovation Review reports that less than six percent of individuals, regardless of age, incorporate a charitable bequest in their will or estate plan. This low percentage can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of information about the possibilities available. 

3. Do I need to be wealthy to begin a Legacy Plan?

No. Individuals of all financial situations can benefit from having a well-thought-out legacy plan. Donations can include cash, stocks, and non-publicly traded assets. 

4. Are there tax benefits associated with a legacy gift?

Legacy giving involves making charitable donations as part of a person’s overall financial and estate planning. There can be several tax benefits associated with legacy giving, depending on the specific form of planned giving. It’s important to note that tax laws can be complex and subject to change, so individuals interested in legacy giving should consult with tax professionals, estate planning attorneys, or financial advisors.

5. What is the value of leaving your money to a community foundation?

  • According to Mass.gov, there are over 25,000 public charities operating within Massachusetts, each with its own unique focus and mission. This abundance of charitable organizations gives donors an extensive choice when selecting causes that align with their philanthropic goals and values. 
  • One valuable option for leaving your money is to contribute to a community foundation. Community foundations play a crucial role in connecting donors with local nonprofits and addressing the specific needs of the community.
  • Community foundations have a finger on the pulse of our community’s evolving needs and can partner with and guide our donors in identifying how their contributions can make the biggest impact in their own backyards. By entrusting your assets to a community foundation, you can ensure that your charitable dollars continue to address the most pressing issues facing our community, forever.  

6. Why should I consider the Community Foundation for MetroWest in my legacy planning?

The CFMW offers the added benefit of taking the temperature of our community through our Impact MetroWest data platform. Impact MetroWest is a community initiative that aims to raise awareness and mobilize action to address the strengths and challenges in the MetroWest region of Greater Boston. By providing credible and independent data, Impact MetroWest enables the community to gain knowledge, understanding, and work collectively towards enhancing the quality of life for all.  

This platform is helpful for donors in making sound investment decisions by providing transparent and reliable information on the impact of their legacy giving plans for their community. Whatever your passion – fighting hunger, arts and culture, town specific initiatives – the Foundation will help you improve lives and leave a legacy in the place you call home. 

7. How do I get started?

The Foundation is committed to helping you understand your individual goals and intentions and to establish and honor a giving plan that is unique to you. Our team has put together an online toolkit to help demystify the process.  

The tool kit includes a step-by-step guide, sample bequest language, and much more!  

To learn more about legacy giving, how you can include the Community Foundation for MetroWest in your bequest, and to download your toolkit, visit: Charitable Giving | the Foundation for MetroWest (planmylegacy.org) or contact Lee Gagen, Director of Development and Leadership Giving at [email protected].  

Consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results.


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