At some point in your life, there comes a moment when it becomes important – vital, in fact – to focus your energies on a cause and give to charity with all the passion that went into amassing your worth. But what drives so many generous givers to this moment?
A recent Wall Street Journal article points out that it’s the age-old, if hackneyed, idea: legacy.
Beyond a doubt, there are certain tax advantages to well-timed and well-planned charity; the tax code is designed for this. But also it is important to realize that there is a history to the tax code. Regardless however convoluted the reason, many a tax advantage exists beyond the lobbying of non-profits and the work of those set to take advantage for fiduciary reasons. No, such advantages exist to recognize the urge to provide a legacy.
Planning for your estate and your wealth, in life and after death, is usually about “legacy” in one form or another. Your family is part of your legacy, that is oftentimes a give, but the missions you held dear in life are just as much a part of your legacy. In fact, they are an extension of your ideas, dreams and hopes for the world, or some small corner of it.
The original article goes as far as to say that legacy, in broad terms, is why we give to charity in the first place. So, what will your legacy be, and what do you want to leave for the world? If there is something that you care about, perhaps it is worth acting upon, either in life or as a bequest.
Reference: The Wall Street Journal (March 8, 2012) “Why the Rich Give to Charity”
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Wayne B. Ball is a Little Rock estate planning and probate attorney serving families and
businesses in Arkansas for more than 25 years.