Leaving a Sustainable Legacy

Apr. 5, 2021

When it’s done right, financial planning should be about more than just getting to and living well in retirement. For most people, leaving a legacy gift is a worthwhile and very realistic goal.

The future is unknowable, and the first priority for both us and our clients is well-being in good times and bad. And when times are bad, that safety is invaluable. But often, markets perform well or even better than expectations.

Whether you are secure enough in your situation to already be thinking about leaving a gift, or whether your investment results have been strong enough to create an opportunity you didn’t think you’d have, leaving a legacy gift is a great privilege.

Trends in Legacy Giving

Legacy giving, also known as planned giving, commonly takes the form of a charitable gift made through a will or bequest. These gifts are frequently left to hospitals, museums, universities, and all kinds of other organizations meaningful to individuals and their families.

Today, the sustainability and environmental preservation movements are creating growing interest in land trusts and other environmental organizations. Supporting these can be an enormously impactful way to make a lasting gift, helping preserve our local greenspaces for future generations to come.

For example, land trusts are little-known organizations that seek to preserve land for parks, recreational areas, or to leave undeveloped entirely. They protect wildlife, natural resources, and greenspace from pollution, commercial activity, and human development in general.

The Sustainability Bug

Community land trusts, local Audubon societies, and other clubs and greenspace defense funds can benefit from additional support. If you are already well on track to achieving your immediate financial planning goals, and if environmental preservation matters to you, then consider a planned gift to a local land trust non-profit organization.

These planned gifts can be incorporated into your existing financial plan, allowing you to still prioritize your primary financial goals, while allotting for a fixed or variable residual gift to one of these organizations.

In your estate plan, you can arrange for either a percentage of your estate, or simply choose a ‘whatever is remaining’ amount. These gifts, which can also be either monetary value or real property, can make a substantial difference for local conservation efforts, helping you reach financial goals and leave a legacy in the process.

As always, please reach out to a financial consultant for more information, and please be sure to work with an estate planning attorney before making any changes.

For more, watch our a panel discussion on sustainable investing trends and land trust conservation efforts, A Community Discussion: Aligning Sustainability, Portfolios, and Charitable Giving.

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