Frequently Asked Questions
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How do I leave a gift for a charitable organization
that I admire?
It's easy. You can arrange for a gift in several ways, the most
common being through a charitable gift in a will or a living trust.
Many people set aside a certain dollar amount. Others leave a percentage
of their estate, or any assets left over after they have provided
for their family. Others leave a paid-up life insurance policy,
retirement account, or other financial investment.
Must I have an estate in order to leave a legacy?
Everyone can leave a legacy. "Estate" is simply a word
used to describe any money, property, or personal belongings that
you own at the time of your death. Most people leave an estate
when they die, even though they may not have a great deal of wealth.
Even modest gifts are appreciated.
Do I have to include my wish to leave a legacy
to a specific organization in my will?
A charitable bequest will not take effect unless you state your
intention in your will or living trust. Without a will, you may
lose control over your assets after your death.
When should I start to think about leaving a legacy?
The answer is different for each individual. Some people make
their wills when they have a first child, or when they receive
an inheritance. But don’t put it off--the time is always
right to think about how you wish to be remembered.
Why should I consider leaving a legacy?
Consider the institutions and causes you support now. Why have
you made gifts of money and time? Picture your Jewish community
decades from now. What would you hope to see? Through your legacy,
you can ensure that the organizations you care about thrive in
perpetuity and the issues you are most concerned with continue
to be addressed.
Who will receive my legacy?
All qualified, tax-exempt institutions are appropriate beneficiaries.
Organizations you have supported in your life are natural choices.
Help keep the Jewish community strong by considering any of our
community organizations. You may wish to target fields of interests
such as Jewish education, care for the elderly, or social services
in Israel. You can also support organizations in the general
community that have touched your life.
Do I tell the charity that I've left a gift?
That is up to you. Charities often like to know in advance so
that they can recognize your generosity. They can also tell you
about specific opportunities for giving.
How can I invite my children into the process?
You should engage your children in every step of the legacy planning
process. Here are some suggestions:
- Initiate a family discussion about how your charitable giving and values.
- Together, visit the institutions and programs you are committed to supporting.
- Listen to and acknowledge their concerns.
How can my legacy inspire the community?
The legacy planning process can build bonds with your partners in your
community. It is truly a way to let your name be remembered as a
blessing. Your promise to provide for the Jewish community after your
lifetime also makes you eligible for the community’s recognition
How can I make sure that my legacy reflects what is important to
We, at the Jewish Endowment Foundation, are here to be your key
advisor and guide. Because we distribute grants to the community each
we can help you identify community needs and potential beneficiaries.
meet with you before you meet with your advisors to brainstorm initial
and goals. In future years, we can help involve your children and
grandchildren in carrying out your legacy.
When should I fund my legacy?
Depending on your assets and goals, you can fund your legacy
now or after your lifetime. For example, if you feel there is a
compelling need to provide scholarships to Jewish day schools for
needy children, you can begin those scholarships now and direct
your estate to complete the balance of the funding. Alternatively,
you can designate your entire legacy to be funded after your lifetime
if that is more appropriate for you.
How should I fund my legacy?
With the help of your professional
advisors, you will carefully choose the source of your dollars to
help fund your legacy. Examples include retirement funds, highly-appreciated
stock and real estate.
How should I structure my legacy?
Depending on your goals, your legacy can be structured in the
way that is most advantageous for you. You, your spouse and family
members can receive income for life through charitable
gift annuities or charitable
remainder trusts. Or your legacy can be a simple
bequest in your will or from your IRA.
What is the difference between a bequest and an endowment?
A bequest is a legacy gift, distributed from the donor’s estate
after the end of his or her life. If not designated, it can be spent
in the year that it is captured. An endowment is a permanent fund
that is held in perpetuity, distributing a specified percentage
annually to the designated purpose.
How can I get started?
Simply call the Create a Jewish Legacy office, the Jewish Endowment Foundation, or
your favorite organization(s)
for a confidential meeting. We look forward to working with you
keep the community strong and vibrant for generations to come.
How is the program funded?
Create a Jewish Legacy is funded by the Jewish Endowment Foundation, and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.