The invitation is always open. One of the all-around best societies to belong to, and it can cost a lot less than your golf club. Plus, you’ll never miss the money!
The Legacy Society — or whatever name a nonprofit might choose — is an exclusive club you join simply by naming a chosen charity (or two or three) in your will. Membership doesn’t necessarily get you invited to elegant places, five-course dinners, or fancy balls. What it does get you is the feel-good feeling. Leaving the world better? Priceless.
I go to a lot of ‘legacy society’ events. This is because my good husband was 62 when we married and never had siblings, children, or other survivors-to-be. Since I came with children, grandchildren, and a large, cousin-counting family (all of whom he quickly came to love to varying degrees), it felt right to both of us that everything he’d worked so hard for should eventually go to the causes he believed in. So early on we set up a trust, with his estate divided among a great group of nonprofits.
Wills and trusts make clear what happens to your assets when you die. Full disclosure: this writer has zero legal training. What I know is that a living trust can protect you or a loved one during a lifetime, and distribute all or some of your assets to a cause you believe in after you die. This was something well understood by my good husband. Much of his volunteer work involved helping nonprofits create ‘legacy societies’ that would encourage supporters to name the nonprofit as a beneficiary of their trust. Later on he helped me do the same with nonprofits I support. (https://endoflifechoicesca.org.) You simply let your chosen charity know it’s in your will and you’re in the club. They will also happily guide you through the process of joining.
If you have survivors destined to inherit your estate, what better way to remind them of what was important to you — and teach a lesson from the great beyond about how they can make the world better — than leaving a gift to a nonprofit you believe in?
Living trusts are one good way to get that done. In my own case, the income from my husband’s lifetime of hard work and good investments is helping me live comfortably, although he’s gone to his own well-earned rewards. What this means for the charities we chose is that they have to wait until I’m dead and gone. But for the most part they are being polite about it.
Most nonprofits have someone on staff, or a handy advisor, who can help you make even a small amount of dedicated money make a big difference.
At a recent legacy society event, one advisor talked to us about Mackenzie Scott. If you, like me, haven’t thought much about Mackenzie Scott lately, she’s the mega-billionaire who got that way by helping ex-husband Jeff Bezos create Amazon and get his own quadrillions. After they split, she vowed to give away half of her substantial stash. This continues to be good news to a lot of good causes — partly because she doesn’t tell them how to use it. She might not even insist that her name be plastered over the front door, as do some mega-donors we can quickly name. Leaving those decisions up to whatever your chosen charity needs most — which they generally know best — brings extra gratitude.
You don’t have to have Mackenzie’s money; supporting good causes with any donation today, amid the current challenges of economic craziness and post-pandemic stress, is a great idea. But whether you can pitch in today to help a good cause, you can always arrange for something to be pitched in after you cash it all in.
Feel good today, leave the world better tomorrow.