Even those with strong charitable intents (religious or otherwise), actually fail to provide for the charities of their choice at death.  In essence their charitable intent is often ignored, and it is usually by mistake!

I was reading a Last Will and Testament of a high net worth client the other day, and came across a very interesting section.  It should first noted that a residuary clause is a catch-all. It basically says if there is any money left over after specific bequests, I want it go to A, B, and C.  In the client’s residuary clause he left assets to family members; however, if the following happens his contingent residuary clause were to take affect, and in said contingent residuary clause he left a generous sum of money to a pre-school for children with special.  However, this contingent residuary clause only came into effect if

  • His spouse predeceased;
  • His children predeceased;
  • Those predeceased children left no children;
  • His Parents predeceased;
  • His Siblings predeceased; and
  • If his nieces and nephew predeceased and they didn’t live any children either

Basically, everyone in his life needed to predecease before his charitable intent, was satisfied.  When I sat down with him and his financial planners to discuss his document I asked, “What is your relationship with XYZ Charity?” His response, was that he is on the Board of Directors, and for the past 20 years XYZ charity has been a huge part of his life. Naturally, I then took out my notes and told him that literally EVERY family member in his life, today, has to die prior to this huge part of his life to see one cent.

He is re-doing his Will.

When Creating a Will Map out Your Charitable Testamentary Intent

Before meeting with an attorney think about the issue, How much do you want to give to the charity of your choice?  Do you want to give it to your church or temple only if everyone has predeceased? Do you want to make sure they get something no matter who survives you?

These are questions only you can answer.

Have you made charitable bequests? Do you know what they actually Say?