Bequests through a will or living trust are among the most common kind of legacy gift made to charity.
But in terms of ease for a donor, bequests are not the simplest. A bequest requires the use of an attorney to draft the bequest language and insert it into your will or trust.
If you are interested in leaving a legacy to your favorite charity, there is a far simpler way to do it. And it doesn’t cost you anything or require anyone else’s help:
The IRA beneficiary designation.
If you have a traditional or Roth IRA, you need to name a beneficiary to receive those assets when you pass away. (Aside: when was the last time you checked your beneficiary designations?) You can name family, friends – or charity.
Naming a charity to receive some or all of your IRA is the easiest way to create a legacy gift. Simply request a “change of beneficiary” form from your IRA custodian, make the change, and submit it. That’s all. 100% do-it-yourself.
Keep in mind these tips:
- To avoid confusion among similar-sounding organizations, confirm the exact legal name of the charity or charities you are naming. Include the charity’s federal tax ID number as well.
- If you are concerned about disinheriting heirs, use percentages – name heirs to receive a certain percentage of the IRA, and name charity to receive the remaining percentage. Life insurance may be an option to replace what is going to charity.
For many people – particularly those who wish to avoid attorneys – an IRA beneficiary designation is hands down the easiest way to leave a lasting legacy to the causes you hold dear.