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Leaving a Legacy

Leaving a Legacy

By Steve Petitjean
The Ohio Masonic Home Foundation


Just the other day, my wife and I were discussing our future and how we wanted to help those we love and hold dear to our hearts. We love our daughters and want to ensure that we provide for them and their future families. We talked about other family members and close friends that we would like to consider helping. Then Lori asked, “How can we best continue supporting the charities that we hold close to our hearts even after we are gone?” We had great dialogue and we both agreed that we want to leave a lasting impact on family, friends, and a few special charities while lessening the burden of taxes on our family and on our estate.

We then discussed how best to distribute our assets to make this happen. Bequests are the easiest way to include individuals and organizations. We simply have to complete a form or contact our advisors to ensure our intentions. With the help of our advisors, we can include specific language in our will (or trust) specifying a percentage of our estate, a specified dollar amount, or a specific item to be given to family, friends, and charities as part of our estate plans.

Did you know that certain types of property, such as retirement assets and insurance policies, pass outside of a will or trust? These assets require you to name a beneficiary by completing a Beneficiary Designation Form.

We discussed our IRA accounts (a retirement asset) as being excellent bequests to charity, because if the IRA is given to our daughters, much of the value will be depleted through estate and income taxes. By designating a charity as the beneficiary of part or all of our IRAs, the full value of the gift is transferred tax-free at death, and the estate receives a charitable deduction. We talked about naming one another as beneficiaries on our IRAs while designating a charity as the secondary beneficiary of the account. To do so, we simply need to contact our IRA custodians to obtain Beneficiary Designation Forms to plan for the future bequest from our IRA accounts.

Lastly, we can name anyone (including charities) as beneficiary of our insurance policies and change our designations at any time. All we have to do is contact our insurance company to obtain Beneficiary Designation Forms and make a bequest of our policies.

If you are having similar thoughts about those that you hold dear to your heart and wish to learn more, please contact the Ohio Masonic Home Foundation at 888-248-2664, or email us at foundation@ohiomasonichome.org, for a no obligation conversation.  We are happy to help!

The search for significance and the desire to plan for the future lead many to ponder their legacy. I ask, “What kind of legacy will you leave?”