“Give Till It Hurts.” It’s a popular expression that asks us to be as generous as possible to support the causes we believe in. But what if I told you that there was a way for you to give, and give big, to the charities and organizations that you love, without the pain? Here are two ways that you can give big with almost no impact on your budget.
Last Will & Testament
No matter your age, it is never too early to write a will. In fact, it can only be too late. Gallup research shows that only 53% of people ages 50-64 have a will in place. It’s even worse for ages 30-49, where only 36% have completed a will. According to AP, among the reasons people cite for not having a will, three stand out:
- “Only rich people need wills”
- “I don’t have the time now”
- “I can’t afford a will”
Let’s break down these excuses.
Only rich people need wills – No matter your level of assets, many of us have homes, 401k plans, savings accounts, IRAs and other investments. And while your assets may be less than $1 million, you still have assets! Without a simple will in place, the probate court will make decisions about the distribution of your assets and property. This can be extremely disruptive to your family after you’ve gone. Probate courts will take control of your estate, leading to high costs and long delays. Further, no assets will be given to any charitable organization, even though your intent was to include them in your estate.
I don’t have the time now – If you believe that an attorney is necessary to help you assemble your will, it may require a few hours of time via Zoom or an in-person meeting. But if you do have significant or complex assets, this will be a great use of your time. Fortunately, most people do not fall into this category. Instead, they can opt for the several free or low-cost online options that are 100% legally sound and only take 15-minutes or so to complete. LifeLegacy is one example of such a will. They offer the will completion experience for free right on their website.
I can’t afford a will – As we mentioned, for people who have significant or complex assets, it is likely worth the cost to make sure your will is comprehensively reviewed by an attorney. According to LegalMatch, the range of costs are from $940 to $1,500+, depending on the complexity of the estate. But as we said, there are low or no cost options available for people who have a limited number of assets that they plan to distribute to a limited number of people or organizations, including charities.
Life insurance is an excellent way to affordably leave a large lasting legacy. The power of life insurance allows many people to “give like a millionaire.” If you are a current donor to a charity or religious organization, and can afford to spend a little more each month in the form of a life insurance premium payment, you can significantly increase your impact through the power of life insurance. For example, for about $75 a month, a 50 year old can use a whole life policy to leave a $50,000 tax free gift upon their death. For a 40 year old, that commitment is about $60 a month (subject health and lifestyle). Term insurance is a lower cost option, but death benefits are not guaranteed as they are with whole life. That makes whole life a better choice for charitable giving.
Some companies, like LifeLegacy, offer an online life insurance application experience for the express purpose of supporting your favorite charity, and also allows you to split the death benefit between the charity and family members. In fact, the site has a database of thousands of charities from which to choose, or you can customize the experience and choose your own organization. LifeLegacy allows you to apply online with a fast screening process that takes a matter of minutes.
So there are two products, wills and life insurance, that allow you to support the causes you love, without the pain!