“Ask Your Attorney” Column

Ask Your Attorney

I Can’t Afford To Do It Now, But Is There A Way I Can Give Back To My Community When I Die?

Dear Counselor: I’ve done well in my life, and have had the good fortune to live in a great community that has done a lot for me and my family. Because of the economy, I can’t give anything substantial now, but would like to leave 10% to fund charities at my death. But, hopefully, that won’t be for awhile, so do you have any suggestions for what to do since I am updating my Will now ?

Dear Client: In recent years, I’ve seen the establishment of many locally directed endowment funds which raise money from people such as yourself. Then, the money which is raised is invested, and the income earned is then distributed via grants to local charitable or educational organizations. That is the general idea of these “community foundations”. Your gifts stay in the local community. One of the local funds that have been established to accomplish this goal is The Elkhorn Fund, which you can read about on Facebook, or do your own “Google” search. In recent years, The Elkhorn Fund has made grants for such things as holiday food baskets for the Elkhorn Food Pantry, transportation assistance for Hope Now, and help for the Tibbets Elementary School backpack program. In the future, grants may be awarded to support historic and environmental preservation, education, health care, youth programs and the elderly. So, if you want to “give back” to your local community, you might want to look into The Elkhorn Fund, or other similarly established community foundation, and make them a bequest of either cash or a percentage of your net estate when you die. The principal which you leave is added to the Fund, and the income is what is used to make the gifts. So, it is really the “gift that keeps on giving” and a way to say “thanks” to your hometown. More questions? Just give me a call.

John L. Maier, Jr.
Marcus Weden

Sweet & Maier, S.C., Attorneys
114 N. Church St.
Elkhorn, WI 53121