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Scott Barbur, Partner

Incorporating Charitable Giving into Your Life and Your Legacy

| Scott Barbur, Partner

I was recently invited to speak on the panel of a Creative Giving Seminar at Holy Family, a Catholic Parish in the Eastmoreland pocket of Southeast Portland. My reasons for participating on this panel were twofold: 1. I recognized this as an opportunity to provide a legal service in our local community, and 2. I happen to be a parishioner of the Church. Naturally, it was an easy yes. The outcome, however, was more personal than I anticipated, as it got me thinking creatively about giving both during my lifetime and in legacy giving.

As I reflect on the evolution of Barbur Laskey, which began as a solo shop immediately after graduating law school, I can confidently say that one of the greatest joys of becoming an established local firm lies in our ability to give back and support our community. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to share in success with the people and places that you care about.

Now understandably, despite the desire to give, it isn’t always possible to part with cash today, and that’s where legacy planning, or giving through your estate plan, comes into play. With a lot of giving strategies available – from gifts of property and appreciated stock to charitable remainder trusts, it’s often tricky (and legally complex!) to suggest a one-size-fits-all giving strategy. That said, the simplest and most straightforward way to incorporate charitable giving into your estate plan is to simply write it in your will. This is called a bequest.

A bequest is a gift made through a will or trust. It specifies the charity of your choice and the dollar amount or percentage of your estate you would like to donate when you pass. Bequests can be written for multiple charities, changed, and are the most popular – and flexible – way to support meaningful causes and leave a legacy.

Outside of setting up your will, there are no additional costs with this giving strategy. One word of caution when it comes to making a bequest: being overly specific can create room for error; if your charity of choice cannot fulfill your exact request, for example, they will not be able to accept your gift when the time comes. The good news: there are plenty of resources, including development directors, to ensure the gift you want to plan for your legacy can be used as you desire.

Charitable giving can come from the heart and reduce estate and inheritance taxes, but it’s important to seek legal advice from your estate planning attorney to see what giving strategies best fit your financial objectives. There are many wonderful reasons to give to charity and even more worthwhile causes to support. If you’re considering charitable giving through your estate plan, a bequest is one convenient and easy option.