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5 reasons why people decide to leave money to charity

People who have spent decades building up their personal wealth will sometimes put it in a trust when they pass away, opting to leave it to a charity.

Why do they decide to give away what they have worked so hard for? Below are five common reasons:

  1. They trust that leaving it to charity means something good will be done with the money. They may not trust their heirs to use it as productively.
  2. They have family members who care about those causes. For instance, a woman may leave money to a charity that her late husband loved, or a person who has lost a loved one to cancer may donate to cancer research.
  3. They have genuine concern for those who are facing struggles they perhaps never knew themselves. They know their money can make a difference, and they want to help even after they have passed away.
  4. In some cases, they enjoy giving because of the way that it makes them feel. They are proud to know that they have done something good. While some may argue that this is a selfish motivation, it's important to point out that the money can still do an incredible amount of good, no matter why it was given.
  5. They are looking for a tax break. Charitable donations can often be used as deductions.

When money is left to a charity, heirs will sometimes try to contest the estate plan and demand that all of the money stay within the family. If this happens, it is very important for organizations to know all of their legal options to defend their rights and the wishes of the person who passed away.

Source: The Conversation, "5 reasons why people give their money away – plus 1 why they don’t," Sara Konrath and Femida Handy, accessed April 11, 2018

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