Top 10 Legacy Myths
“I (Devra) have been a member of Temple Beth El my entire life (having been named on its bimah). It is a congregation that has embraced our family in times of joy and sorrow – a building in which we have celebrated, grieved, studied, and found deep meaning. We have made a legacy gift to Beth El so that future generations can experience the simchas, close community, and dedication to Jewish tradition that are the hallmarks of Conservative Judaism and our synagogue.”
I have to be a millionaire to leave a legacy.
The beauty of legacy giving is that you can make a gift of any amount of your estate. Whether your estate is worth a few shekels or a few billion, your gift is your legacy. And your legacy should live on!
I can only make a legacy gift to one organization.
You can elect to apportion your legacy gift to other organizations in the community that you would like to help in accomplishing their mission. If that’s the case, Temple Beth El’s Life & Legacy team can help you get started in planning your legacy gift.
I might need my money.
It’s true, you might, and it’ll be there for you if and when you do. This type of gift represents what you want to give once you are no longer here to need your assets.
My children are getting all my money.
Every parent wants to make sure their children are financially secure. Consider leaving just a portion of your estate to charitable causes. A gift like this will leave your children with both financial support and an ethical lesson in the importance building a better world.
If the organization dissolves, so will my money.
It’s hard to predict where any of us will be in 10, 20, even 50 years. If you are worried that your organization might not be around when your gift is ready, you can indicate that you’d like it to go to a particular cause (Jewish education) as a second choice or to another favorite organization.
I won’t get to decide what happens to my gift.
Even though you won’t be here to see the impact your legacy gift will be making, you can predetermine where your dollars will go and stipulate how they should be spent. If you’d like to fund a technology upgrade, purchase books, or make sure extra scholarships are available, just stipulate that as part of your gift. Don’t imagine that you have to restrict your gift though… sometimes general funding is the thing that an organization most needs.
I will need to hire a lawyer.
There are many Legacy gift vehicles that don’t require hiring an attorney. Consider making your favorite nonprofit a beneficiary of a portion of your life insurance policy or retirement fund. This change can usually be made with a single phone call and a signature, no attorney necessary.
Only seniors can leave a legacy gift.
Seniors are an important and influential group, but any person—no matter their age—can support the causes and organizations they cherish after they are gone. If you have assets, you’ll want to be the one to decide how they should be divided… at any age.
I don’t want the publicity associated with legacy giving.
Part of our philanthropic practice involves thanking those who have made a legacy commitment. Publishing a list of names and offering special opportunities to legacy givers can inspire others to participate in this important program. But if you’re not the kind of person who wants the world to know about your generosity, you can choose to remain anonymous.
I already give money annually.
Thank you so much! Regular giving is an important part of how nonprofits keep their doors open. But what happens to the organization you have supported when you are no longer here to make that gift? A legacy gift can help ensure that your support continues.