Many advocacy groups have similar stories to tell:
None of these people would be considered wealthy by most standards. Although they are generous, none of them could hope to make a gift of $11,000 or several hundred thousand dollars from their regular incomes. However, when they consider their “net worth,” including home equity, pension plans, and life insurance policies, their abilities to make a very substantial gift increase dramatically.
Many people think that planned giving is only for the wealthy. But, as these examples show, everyone should take a serious look at the options that planned giving offers.
The most important consideration when planning your estate is to provide for the needs of your loved ones. After doing this, you may decide to leave a lasting legacy that promotes your values by working for a better world long after you’re gone.
Wills: Fewer than half of all Americans have a will, but everyone should have one—especially those with dependents. Without a will, probate costs can consume much of a modest estate. Making a will ensures that the assets you have acquired, such as home equity, cars, mutual funds, savings accounts, art, and antiques, can go to the people and causes you hold dear. If you do not have a will, or wish to make a change in an existing will, contact an attorney to help design one that fully addresses all of your needs. If you designate The VRG as a beneficiary of a will, pension plan, or life insurance policy, please use our full, legal name: The Vegetarian Resource Group, Inc. (Baltimore, Maryland).
Life Insurance: Many employers include a life insurance policy among their employee benefits. When asked to designate a beneficiary, you can choose The VRG to receive any portion of the policy you wish to donate.
Pension Plans, Retirement Plans, 401(k)s and IRAs: Many employers contribute to a pension plan for their employees, and many people contribute to their own pension plans (including IRAs). These retirement accounts can become quite large over the course of one’s working life. You can designate The VRG to receive any money that is not used during your retirement. If you are married, or if you have already retired, this option may be more complicated for you. Please consult with a financial advisor regarding your options.
Bank Accounts: You can name The VRG as the beneficiary of any checking or savings account, certificate of deposit, mutual fund, or stock from a brokerage account. Your financial institution can provide you with a beneficiary-designation form (also known as a transfer-on-death or pay-on-death form).
Planning your estate is a very personal matter. However, if you wish to use your gift as a named memorial, or if you wish to support a particular Vegetarian Resource Group program and want to share your plans, you can contact Charles Stahler or Debra Wasserman at The VRG at (410) 366-8343.
Since March 2000, Roger Lowe has worked in the development offices of Baltimore-based universities. He has volunteered at several VRG outreach booths.
The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.
Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.
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