We understand that legacy giving can be a complicated and daunting topic and you might have questions after reading Planting Seeds for the Future of the Jewish Community with Planned Giving. So, we wanted to address some questions and hesitations that we commonly hear. If you have additional questions about planned giving, please reach out to the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association or the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation.
What happens if I change my mind about leaving a gift to a Jewish community organization in my will?
Legacy gifts are revokable—that is, you can change your mind! If you have a will that leaves a gift to a specific organization in the Jewish community, then you decide you want to change that gift—whether it’s to change the amount or to remove it entirely—you can do that. If you’ve designated an organization as the beneficiary of a fund or an insurance policy, you can change that too.
What about my kids? Shouldn’t I leave everything to them?
Of course, this is a very personal decision, and you and your family know how best to answer that question. However, leaving some part of your estate to a cause or causes you care about can be a way of showing your children what you value. And that message is even clearer when you take opportunities during your lifetime to have discussions with them about your planned gifts.
Sometimes, these conversations lead to a deeper understanding of why you care about the causes that you do. Indeed, we find that children are often understanding and supportive of their parents’ charitable estate plans. And there are even times, especially when it comes to gifting an asset like a vacation home, that children are relieved by their parents’ planned gift, as it removes the future responsibility of that asset’s sale or maintenance from them.
Do I have to tell a nonprofit organization that it is included in my estate plans?
The straightforward answer is no: disclosure is not a requirement. If you want to keep that information to yourself—for whatever reason—you can absolutely do so. However, it is a good idea for two reasons:
- Not all organizations are able to accept all gifts. Some have gift-acceptance policies that preclude accepting certain types of assets, while others simply don’t have the capacity to do so. Others may not be able to accept gifts with certain conditions on them. Having a conversation with the organization ahead of time will help clear any potential hurdles—and make things easier on the executor of your estate down the line. And if you do learn that that the organization you want to support doesn’t accept the type of asset you have, there may be an alternative path to giving: community foundations can generally accept a range of assets, and the funds from those assets can then be used to support the desired organization.
- The prospective recipient organization would appreciate the opportunity to be able to thank you during your lifetime—and you deserve to be thanked!
Bear in mind that when organizations are informed about prospective legacy gifts, they know that they are just that: prospective. Organizations understand that such gifts are subject to change and will not make plans that rely on unrealized legacy gifts. Just as it is nice to share with an organization that you have included them in your estate plans, it is also nice to share with them if you’ve changed your plans—though again, this is neither required nor necessarily expected.
Why would I leave an organization in my will if I don’t give to them regularly now?
Of course, we know that organizations would appreciate gifts during your lifetime. However, there are some assets (e.g., a home, a retirement account, etc.) that you might not be able to part with now. Those reasons might be financial, or they might be emotional. Either way, you may be able to make a more significant gift in your estate plans than you could today. And be assured that a nonprofit organization in the Jewish community will be grateful for your gift—and put it to good use—no matter when you choose to make it.
Thinking about our own legacies is especially consistent with the work of the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association
The Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association is unique among organizations in that contributed dollars live on in perpetuity. As our no interest loans made possible through gifts are repaid, the funds are lent out again and again, continuing to make a difference in so many people’s lives. Since funds are recycled, donations have a lasting impact, which is what we all hope to do in some way with our work in the Jewish community and charitable giving.
For more information on establishing a bequest or creating a strategy for legacy giving, contact Mona Allen or Risa Gross at the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation. For more information, visit our Donate page and use the “Create a Legacy” Intent Form to let us know that you have included, or plan to include, the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association in your estate plans.