What is a bequest in a will?
Bequests are gifts that are made as part of your will. A bequest can be to a person, or it can be a charitable bequest to a nonprofit organization (like the Legion of Christ), or to a trust or foundation. Anyone can make a bequest—in any amount—to an individual or charity. Bequests can be a simple term in your will - “I give $1,000 to the Legion of Christ” - or complex, with conditions about how the gifts can be used.
What are the benefits of remembering the Legion in my will?
Mission: A bequest gift can be a way to create a lasting legacy in service to the Church, the Legion and the thousands of people whose lives the Legion touches.
Flexibility: Charitable bequests are flexible and easy to update. You can write one into a will with a short paragraph, and if circumstances change you can revoke it just as easily in a subsequent will or amendment. Estate planning professionals often counsel their clients to have an annual or bi-annual estate plan “check-up” to ensure that the most recent version of the client’s will reflects their wishes.
Tax benefits: Under current federal law, an estate of more than $11.58 million will owe federal tax. In general, there is an unlimited deduction of charitable bequests against the value of an estate, making it a powerful tool for reducing estate tax. It is possible for an estate to deduct charitable bequests of not only cash, but also property such as real estate, stock, IRAs, autos and other assets. Not all assets are treated equally if inherited by heirs—for example, retirement assets are typically less advantageous to leave to heirs than appreciated securities—so there are also benefits to carefully selecting which assets to use as a part of a charitable bequest to maximize the benefits to all involved.
Efficiency: Charitable bequests can help the efficiency of settling an estate because the bequests provide clear instructions to the executor on how to distribute certain assets in accordance with the testator's wishes. Making charitable bequests to a donor-advised fund can also be more efficient than other types of charitable bequests because it can streamline the work for the estate executor.
How can I learn more about trusts and life estates that provide mutual gifts to me and the Legion?
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