Legacy giving: What it is and how to get involved

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Community, Environment, Food Waste, Hunger Relief

Legacy giving, also known as planned giving, is a philanthropic act in which individuals include a charitable organization in their estate plans. This thoughtful and impactful approach to giving ensures that one’s values and support for important causes continue even after their lifetime. Through legacy giving, donors have the opportunity to make a lasting impact on causes they care about, while also potentially receiving financial benefits such as tax advantages. 

What is legacy giving? 

Legacy giving is a way to support charitable organizations by leaving a gift in your will or estate plan. These gifts can come in various forms: 

  • Bequests: Donors can leave a specific amount of money, a percentage of their estate, or a particular asset (such as real estate or securities) to an organization in their will. 
  • Beneficiary designations: Individuals can name a charitable organization as a beneficiary of their retirement accounts, life insurance policies or other assets. 
  • Charitable trusts: Trusts allow donors to make a gift to charity while still receiving income from the trust during their lifetime. 
  • Charitable gift annuities: This arrangement allows donors to provide a gift to an organization in exchange for a fixed income for life. 

Benefits of legacy giving 

  • Lasting impact: Legacy gifts enable donors to leave a lasting legacy that can benefit future generations and continue their support for a cause they believe in. 
  • Tax advantages: Depending on the type of gift and the donor’s financial situation, there may be potential tax benefits such as estate tax deductions. 
  • Flexibility: Donors have the flexibility to choose the type of gift that best aligns with their financial and estate planning goals. 
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that their estate will contribute to a cause they care about can provide donors with peace of mind and a sense of fulfillment. 

Resources and tips for getting involved in legacy giving 

  • Identify causes you care about: Reflect on the causes that matter most to you and consider how your legacy gift can support these organizations. 
  • Consult with professionals: It’s essential to consult with financial advisors, estate planning attorneys and tax professionals to ensure your legacy gift aligns with your overall estate plan and financial goals. 
  • Discuss with loved ones: Share your plans with your family and loved ones to ensure they understand your intentions and the impact of your gift. 
  • Reach out to charitable organizations: Contact the organizations you wish to support to learn about their legacy giving programs and how your gift can make a difference. 
  • Review and update your plans: As your life circumstances change, periodically review and update your legacy giving plans to ensure they continue to reflect your wishes. 

Legacy giving is a meaningful way to support causes close to your heart and leave a lasting impact on the world. By understanding the options and benefits available, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your values and goals.  

This information is general in nature, does not constitute legal or financial advice, and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice. We strongly encourage you to seek professional legal, estate planning and/or financial advice before deciding on your course of action. 

For more information on making a legacy donation, please contact our Senior Manager of Philanthropy, Natasha Bowes, natashab@secondharvest.ca or 647-612-6597. 

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