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Can I Donate to a Charity or Cause After I Pass?

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What are you passionate about?

For some, our answers may be around our family, our community, or the job we have or once held. For others, it might be about solving a problem or crisis, or helping others. Whatever your answer, there is likely a nonprofit organization or charity that aligns with your passions.

And it’s not uncommon for people to leave a legacy in the form of a charitable donation when they pass. Because these causes are close to our hearts, we want to help them continue their missions even after we’re gone. This act also serves as a final, impactful way to help your memory live on in the form of service to others.

But how does one go about making the donation?

As you preplan your final arrangements, take these key options into consideration.

Personal Donations

Donating Money via Your Will or Trust

When drafting your will, you can choose to set aside money to donate to your charity of choice after you pass. This can include an organization that you’ve volunteered at or one in which you simply support its mission. Planning ahead can help ensure that you have enough to provide for you and your family while also contributing to your meaningful organization.

Keep in mind that you can make changes to your will at any time, so you can adjust the amount you’re donating if you need to.

Naming the Charity as a Beneficiary

While many people exclusively consider their loved ones as beneficiaries, beneficiaries can also include entities like nonprofit organizations and charities. Because of this, you can select a charity or organization as a beneficiary of an asset, such as your retirement account, stocks, real estate or life insurance policy. This update can be made in your will but can also be incorporated into your real estate plan, if you have one.

Remember that no matter how big or small your donation is, every little bit helps—and will make a positive impact on those affected by your generosity.

Tribute Donations

Requesting Donations in Your Memory

Instead of updating your will or policies, you can request that surviving family and friends make charitable donations in your name when you pass. When recording your request, make sure to be clear about the organization you’d like to donate to, including its formal name, website and address.

To ensure donations are made to the correct charity, you can also set up a dedicated fund where people can submit donations in your honor. Even without creating a personal fund, most charities allow people to make donations through their websites and include a note that the donation was made in your honor.

Letting Your Family Arrange Donations

No matter which route you choose, it’s also important to let your family know about your wishes and plans ahead of time. If you’re including the bequest in your will or donating your assets, you don’t want to catch them off guard.

Likewise, you’ll want them to know your wishes ahead of time so they can keep them in mind when making final arrangements. This can include letting your surviving family and friends know to make donations to your charity of choice in lieu of flowers or gifts, or setting up a memorial fund in your honor.

Keep in mind that you’re not limited to one option, and no matter the route you choose, the donations will go a long way in supporting your charity’s mission and making a difference.

>>>Related Resource: In Lieu of Flowers: 3 Alternative Funeral Gift Ideas

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing Final Arrangements

With upward of 125 decisions to make, preparing final arrangements for yourself or a loved one can be a stressful task. For your more difficult decisions, we’ve created a funeral planning checklist to help guide you. Download it now for considerations on tackling legal aspects, planning for a service, preplanning and more.

Download our funeral planning checklist

Jeff Hogan
Jeff Hogan
Passionate about service and community involvement, and one of Busch's longest-standing employees. Jeff is involved in several Elyria-area organizations, churches and schools. He also enjoys serving the diverse cultural and religious Cleveland community.Proudly serving Busch families since 1990.

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