As part of my role in advising on all tax, wills and succession issues clients often consider leaving a gift in their will. As you can imagine, talking about what will happen with your estate is a sensitive issue.
When clients open up about their charitable wishes the discussion often becomes very personal – they often feel attached to a particular area or a cause they want to give to after they are gone. The emotional involvement is then followed by rational questions such as: how can I ensure that the gift I leave to charity is going to be spent according to my wishes, how much of it will go towards the cause I want and what happens to it if the charity closes? As a solicitor, I can’t advise clients on giving to a particular charity and often a straightforward legacy gift to an established charity does not fit with most clients’ charitable wishes.
I was very pleased when I discovered the philanthropy services the Dorset Community Foundation offers to support local solicitors and their clients.
Recently, we worked together, alongside a client of mine, who wanted to create a unique and lasting tribute in her will. She was very keen that her residual legacy be left to the Foundation to establish a named fund. The bespoke fund will support shire Dorset causes, with special interest in smaller charities and community groups doing valuable work in Christchurch and East Dorset.
My client has spent most of her life in Christchurch where she ran a very successful business alongside her late husband. The area is very special to her and, as part of her legacy wishes, she wanted to support these local communities.
During meetings, we discussed examples of projects the fund will support, such as social activities for isolated older people, vital services for individuals with disabilities and creating opportunities for disadvantaged young people. Case studies and the Foundation’s grant-making experience really brought to life possibilities of how the legacy fund will create a lasting gift to these local communities.
By working with the Foundation and my client we were able to establish the parameters of the fund and even discuss executor involvement in the grant decision making once the fund starts dispersing funding according to my client’s wishes.
It was very reassuring that by setting up the legacy fund with the Foundation my client is able to support the very small charities and community groups which exist hand to mouth and yet she did not have to worry about leaving them a cash gift if they cease operating.
Now that I have been introduced to the philanthropy services the Foundation offers and have experience of setting up a Foundation legacy fund for a client, I would thoroughly recommend their giving mechanisms to everyone who wants to give back locally in a bespoke and impactful way.