In the Community

Planning Ahead: Leaving a Charitable Bequest to Carry Out Your Wishes

We are sadden by the recent passing of internationally renowned musician Prince at age 57. We’re also surprised to hear Prince left no will with provisions for how he would like his estate (worth millions) as well as his music and other intellectual property (also worth millions) to be used going forward.

Wills, trusts, and other legal instruments can be an effective way to carry out your wishes even after you are gone -- whether you have millions of dollars or not.

Perhaps Prince's lack of a will shouldn’t come as such a surprise in 2016 considering that statistics show at least one of every two Americans does not have a will. Notable examples of famous people who died without wills or estate plans include Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Howard Hughes, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley. In each instance, a last will and testament would have ensured the deceased's final wishes were carried and also have avoided controversy and legal battles among family members.

As you consider what you’d like to do with your estate when you are no longer here, think about the good a charitable legacy would do. Is there a nonprofit you eagerly donate to each year with gifts? Is there a cause you have been meaning to support? Using a will or trust or designating them as a beneficiary of your Individual Retirement Account or insurance policy could be a wonderful surprise for any nonprofit organization.

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation makes it easy for you to support a single organization or multiple causes with a future charitable gift. You can also leave a flexible gift to meet future needs you can't imagine today. Our bequest guide makes it easy to learn how to do this.

Our staff can work with your attorney, accountant or other advisors to help you plan ahead so you can help others forever. By adding a charitable gift to your will, you have the opportunity to continue to support your community and specific causes or organizations long after you are gone. There are many ways to plan for a future estate gift:

While gifts of all sizes are welcome at the community foundation, if your bequest is for $25,000 or more, you can have a charitable fund named for you or another family member or special person. Your endowed fund will grow forever while providing grants to nonprofits or scholarships to students following the directions you set in place in your plans. Your legacy will let you have a lasting impact on our community.

If you’re interested in earning more or ordering printed copy of "Adding Charity to Your Will or IRA," please contact Kay Stine, vice president for development at Call 757.622.7951 or You can also learn more at

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