Estate planning: Your children and your community

Posted on May 06, 2024


As you contemplate your legacy and adjust your estate plan over the years, it's natural to focus on your children and family as the primary beneficiaries in your will and trust. If you’re like an increasing number of charitably-minded individuals, though, you might find that your perspectives about what exactly it means to leave a legacy are expanding beyond your next of kin. Your community is on your mind and in your heart, and you’re interested in ways you can support and improve the quality of life for people in the region we call home.

If you’re intrigued, you are not alone. Indeed, many philanthropic individuals are broadening their estate plan beneficiaries to prominently include their community or favorite cause, right alongside children and their families. The team at Stark Community Foundation would be honored to discuss the ways we can help.

Here are four options for funds you can establish to preserve your legacy and benefit our community:

Donor Advised Fund

A Donor Advised Fund allows you to take a personal approach to your giving by making grants now while designating your children as successors to manage the fund in the future. It encourages your children to be actively involved in charitable giving and is an ideal way to instill lifelong philanthropy. By passing on your fund to the next generation, you ensure that your philanthropic legacy lives on and you can easily designate a part of your estate to your fund to ensure that legacy truly continues for perpetual generations.

Designated Fund

A Designated Fund can help you secure your favorite organization's financial future so that its mission continues uninterrupted, even in the face of challenges. Your Designated Fund allows you to decide on the areas that are most important to you to support, such as an organization's capital needs or specific programs or initiatives. You can even designate more than one organization and allocate a certain percentage of the fund’s annual distribution to each.

Field of Interest Fund

A Field of Interest Fund is an ideal way to target your giving to specific areas of community need (such as education, health, environment or the arts). Your Field of Interest Fund establishes grantmaking parameters according to your wishes. Stark Community Foundation's staff follows these parameters and uses its research and expertise to make grants that align with your intentions and evolve with community needs. Your fund can continue beyond your lifetime, consistently providing grants to support your area of interest according to the terms you established in your fund agreement.

Community Charitable Fund

A Community Charitable Fund allows you and your family to provide support that evolves as local priorities shift. Stark Community Foundation's mission is to thoroughly understand the community and improve lives within it. The Foundation's board and grantmaking team conduct ongoing, extensive research about the community's needs and the nonprofit programs that are addressing those needs. Establishing a Community Charitable Fund means investing in programs that address the community's most pressing needs and needs that can only be identified in the future.

And here's a bonus— If you plan to give to a Designated Fund, Field of Interest Fund or Community Charitable Fund at Stark Community Foundation during your lifetime, and you're over the age of 70 1/2, you can direct up to $105,000 each year from your IRA to the fund. This gift is called a "Qualified Charitable Distribution" or "QCD." Not only do QCD transfers count toward satisfying your Required Minimum Distributions if you've reached that age threshold, but you also avoid the income tax on those funds. Furthermore, the assets distributed through a QCD are no longer part of your estate upon your death, so you can also avoid estate taxes. 

 *This blog post is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal, accounting or financial planning advice.

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