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Resources, FAQs, and Myths

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider leaving a Jewish legacy?

Just as you’ve provided for your children, families and those who mean the most to you in your estate plans, LIFE & LEGACY® encourages you to consider leaving a gift to the Jewish community in your will and estate plans. Consider the institutions and causes you support now. What motivates you to give your money and time?

Picture your Jewish community decades from now. What would you hope to see in the future?

Through your legacy, you can ensure that the organizations you care about are able to thrive in perpetuity and the issues you are most concerned with will continue to be addressed.

How do I leave a gift for a particular charitable organization or cause?

You can arrange for a gift in several ways, the most common being through a charitable gift in a will or a living trust. Many people set aside a certain dollar amount as their legacy. Others leave a percentage of their estate, or any assets left over after they have provided for their family. Learn more about the many ways to leave a legacy by clicking here. (link to join us page)

Do I need to have a great deal of wealth to leave a legacy gift?

No. Everyone can leave a legacy. Gifts of any amount are most appreciated and will have a lasting impact in shaping our Jewish community. You can even leave gifts of real estate or other personal property.

I want to leave a Jewish Legacy. To whom can I leave it?

All qualified, charitable institutions are appropriate beneficiaries. Organizations you have supported in your life are natural choices.

You also may wish to focus on general areas of interests, such as:

  • Caring for the elderly
  • Educating our community’s children
  • Scholarships to engage Jewish youth
  • Fighting anti-Semitism
  • Advancing Jewish life and continuity
  • Jewish summer and day camp experiences
  • Synagogue life
  • College campus programs
  • Support for Israel and overseas communities and programs

Help keep the Jewish community strong by including your synagogue, Jewish day school, the Jewish Federation or any of our other legacy partners in your will or estate plan. The Federation and our legacy partners will work with you to tailor legacy gifts that match your philanthropic goals and values.

Must I tell the organization(s) that I am leaving a gift to them?

That is up to you. We as a community would like to recognize you for your generosity and include your commitment as part of the collective success of our LIFE & LEGACY® program. You would also serve as an inspiration and role model to others. Regardless of what you decide, your wishes will always be honored.

How can I invite my children into the process?

There are many ways to include your family in this discussion.

We have many suggestions:

  • Initiate a family discussion about your charitable giving and values
  • Invite your family to a meeting with your professional advisor or a Federation professional
  • Together, visit the institutions and programs you are committed to supporting
  • Listen to and acknowledge your family’s concerns

How can I get started?

The Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York is here to work with you and your professional advisors in structuring and documenting a legacy plan that is meaningful to you. Simply contact us or one of our LIFE & LEGACY® partners for a confidential, no-obligation meeting. We look forward to working with you to make your philanthropic dreams a reality.

10 Common Objections to Legacy Giving and why we hope they won’t stop you from leaving a legacy

10. I already give money annually. Thank you so much! Regular giving to an annual appeal or fundraiser is an important part of how area nonprofits keep their doors open. But what happens to the organization you have supported when you are no longer here to make that gift? A legacy gift can help ensure that your support continues, even when you can’t attend that fundraiser.

9. I don’t want the publicity associated with Legacy Giving. Part of our philanthropic practice involves thanking those who have made a legacy commitment. Publishing a list of legacy society members and offering special opportunities to legacy givers can inspire others to participate in this important program. But if you’re not the kind of person who wants the world to know about your generosity, you can choose to remain anonymous.

8. Only seniors can leave a legacy gift. Seniors are an important and influential group, but any person– no matter their age– can plan to support the causes and organizations they cherish after they are gone. If you have assets, you’ll want to be the one to decide how they should be divided… at any age.

7. I will need to hire a lawyer. There are many Legacy gift vehicles that don’t require hiring an attorney. Consider making your favorite nonprofit a beneficiary of a portion of your life insurance policy or retirement fund. This change can usually be made with a single phone call and a signature, no attorney necessary.

6. I won’t get to decide what happens to my gift. Even though you won’t be here to see the impact your legacy gift will be making, you can pre-determine where your dollars will go and stipulate how they should be spent. If you’d like to fund a technology upgrade, purchase books for the library, or make sure extra scholarships are available, just stipulate that as part of your gift. Don’t imagine that you have to restrict your gift though… usually general funding is just the thing that an organization most needs.

5. If the organization dissolves, so will my money. It’s hard to predict where any of us will be in 10, 20, even 50 years. If you are worried that your organization might not be around when your gift is ready, you can indicate that you’d like it to go to a particular cause (Jewish education) as a second choice to your favorite organization (Shalom School).

4. My kids are getting all my money. Every parent wants to make sure their kids are well taken care of. Consider leaving just a portion of your estate to charitable causes. A gift like this will leave your children with both financial support and an ethical lesson in the importance of building a better world.

3. I might need my money. It’s true, you might. And it’ll be there for you if and when you do. This type of gift represents what you want to give once you are no longer here to need your assets.

2. I want my money to go where it’s most needed. Sometimes it’s not an organization that moves us, but the idea that we can make a difference in the world. If you have a mission that you’d like to accomplish, the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York can help you plan your legacy gift around accomplishing that mission. Contact us at to get started.

1. I have to be a millionaire to leave a legacy. The beauty of legacy giving is that you can make a gift of any amount of your estate. If your estate is worth a few shekels or a few billion, your gift is your legacy. And your legacy should live on!

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