“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” –Winston Churchill
From our earliest days as a nation, Americans have demonstrated a remarkable spirit of generosity. Each year Americans give more than any other country in the world. Yet, the vast majority of Americans are not able to give as much as they would like.
The truth is that while many are limited by the realities of a day-to-day budget, a little careful planning today makes it possible for almost anyone to do more in the future to help those you love including family, friends and charity.
The most frequent gifts made in a will or trust include:
- A Fixed Bequest: This is the gift of a fixed dollar amount to a family member, friend, or charity.
- A Specified Percentage: many people divide their estate by percentages, leaving a specific percentage such as 10% or 20% to be divided among a named list.
- A Gift of a Specific Asset: On some occasions, gifts of a parcel of real estate or a block of stock help fulfill a desired objective to give to family, friends or charity.
- A Residual Gift: Specific bequests are often given to family members and the remainder of the estate is divided equally among a variety of charitable causes.
- Gifts in Trust: There are a number of appropriate ways to leave a gift in trust. For example, a trust can provide a surviving family with income for life with the remainder going to charity after the death of the survivor. Alternatively, a trust may provide income to charity for a prescribed number of years with the remainder ultimately going to a family member.