A great way to leave a legacy is to provide for a charity during your lifetime and/or after you pass away. There are many options available to accomplish this. Providing for a charity upon death can be as simple as designating the organization as a beneficiary of your life insurance policies, annuities, retirement plans or as a payable on death beneficiary of a bank account. This will provide a gift at the time of your death without restricting your control of the asset during your lifetime. In addition to naming the charity as a beneficiary, you can also make provisions in your estate planning documents. This is most commonly done by making the charity a beneficiary of your will or trust. In more complicated estates, it could involve setting up different types of charitable trusts in which both the charity and your family are both beneficiaries.
Gifting during your life is also a great option for those looking to support their favorite charity. Pledging to various charitable campaigns gives one the ability to donate over a defined period of time. One-time gifts also can help support a charity while also achieving certain goals, including reducing certain tax liabilities.
Of course, before undertaking any gifting strategy, it is wise to consult with an estate planning attorney and/or tax advisor to make sure it fits with your overall estate planning goals and that your gifts are being properly made to legitimate charitable organizations.