When we leave this world, we take nothing with us, but what we leave behind can make a big difference to others. It is usual for surviving family members to be the beneficiaries of an estate but increasingly, charitable organisations are benefiting from the generosity of community-minded testators. The purpose of leaving behind assets for the next generation is to contribute to their well-being. Insightful people recognise that while money contributes to well-being, so does community support. A thriving community in which people support each other is essential to well-being and happiness. Thriving communities attract new residents, employment and economic growth. So if your intention is to secure the future of your descendants, think about leaving part of your estate to organisations that provide community support and enrich people’s lives. These days, families tend not to stay in the same place. However, if each of us gave back to a community that provided support during part of our lives, all our families and future generations would be taken care of.
Giving is not just for the wealthy. Whatever the size of your estate, whether it is $50 or $50 million, a portion can be set aside. Perhaps ten percent is a reasonable portion to give; it’s a big enough portion to make a difference to your community, but small enough that it shouldn’t be missed by the other beneficiaries of your estate.
Throughout New Zealand there is a network of community foundations which provide a vehicle for people leave a gift for their community. Funds are pooled and invested in perpetuity, with the returns from the investments being paid out to charitable organisations. More information is available here. Gifts can be made during your lifetime too, which means you gain the satisfaction of seeing the difference you have made.