Welcome to the EPAC Corner! We are pleased to bring you this content from the Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. If you have any questions about the information below or the EPAC group, please contact Community Foundation Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Despite the many cautionary tales arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, most Americans do not have a will. Even those who do have estate plans in place may not truly understand the difference between a will and a trust (and the reason they still need a will even if they have a revocable living trust). A charitable bequest can be part of an estate plan whether the main estate planning vehicle is a will or whether it is a trust.
Of the $485 billion given to charity by Americans in 2021, according to Giving USA, 9.5% of that giving came from bequests–that’s $46 billion. Giving USA’s data visualization tool illustrates the ebbs and flows of bequest giving, which has long been a significant component of philanthropy.
Research reveals fascinating psychological factors behind a donor’s decision to leave a bequest in the first place, which helps to understand the motivation for leaving a gift to a charitable organization in a will or trust. Not surprisingly, altruism has long been one of those factors. Bequests to charity are not a new idea. Examples of high profile estate gifts date back centuries. Some donors may be familiar with the bequests of Benjamin Franklin, who established testamentary charitable trusts dedicated to supporting Boston and Philadelphia tradesmen, and George Washington, who left bequests in his will to colleges and trade schools.
The DeKalb County Community Foundation welcomes the opportunity to work with donors who establish bequests to the Community Foundation through a will or trust or through a beneficiary designation on a qualified retirement plan or life insurance policy, including providing you with proper bequest language to ensure alignment with your intentions. “Make a Will Month” is also a good time to remind you that bequests of qualified retirement plans can be extremely tax-efficient. Dollars flowing directly to a Fund at the Community Foundation from a retirement plan after death will not be subject to income tax or estate tax.
We look forward to working with you to establish generosity across generations.
– Matthew L. Brown, local attorney and member of the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee
Established in 2020, the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) is comprised of local professionals providing estate planning services, including Attorneys, Trust Officers, CPAs, Wealth Advisors, and Insurance Agents. The purpose of the EPAC is to raise awareness and understanding of the Community Foundation as a resource for professional advisors and their clients, assist with efforts to deliver effective estate planning education to the general public, and to notify estate planning professionals on topics relevant to the intersection of estate planning and philanthropy.