Plan Your Estate FAQs

When should I start to think about leaving a legacy?

Jewish tradition teaches that one of our key duties is to make the world a better place for future generations. The time is always right to think about how you wish to be remembered.

How can my legacy reflect what is important to me?

Your legacy planning can be a meaningful, life-changing experience. Picture the community decades from now. What do you see? Consider institutions and causes you are involved with now. Why have you made gifts of money and time? What have been your most significant gifts and which have provided you with the most satisfaction? Through your legacy, you can ensure that the organizations you love thrive in perpetuity and the issues you are most concerned with continue to be addressed.

Who will receive my legacy?

All qualified, tax-exempt institutions are appropriate beneficiaries. Organizations you have supported in your life are natural choices. Help keep the Jewish community strong by considering your synagogue, Federation, Jewish day school or other Jewish group. You can also support organizations in the general community such as your alma mater or a medical institution that has touched your life. Besides specific institutions, you may wish to target special interests such as Jewish education, care for the elderly, or social services in Israel. Also consider designating a share of your legacy to the Jewish Community Foundation’s Unrestricted Endowment Fund, the Marjory Kaplan Foundation Fund. While some issues remain constant, priorities can shift in sudden and unexpected ways. This is an excellent way to express your trust in future community leaders.

What about my children?

You can engage your children in every step of the legacy planning process. Here are some suggestions:

  • Hold a family discussion about how your values have been expressed through giving.
  • Visit organizations you are considering as beneficiaries of your legacy.
  • Share with your children the reasons certain issues are important to you.

How can the Jewish Community Foundation help me?

The Foundation is here to be your key resource, advisor and guide. Because we distribute millions of dollars in grants to the community each year, we can help you identify community needs and potential beneficiaries. We can meet with you before you meet with your advisors to brainstorm initial ideas and goals. In future years, we can help involve your children and grandchildren in carrying out your legacy.

How can the Foundation work with my professional advisors?

We can work with you and your professional advisors to plan your gift in a way that furthers your unique financial and charitable goals. We are available to meet and consult with your advisors throughout the process.

When should I fund my legacy?

Depending on your assets and goals, you can fund your legacy now or after your lifetime. For example, if you feel there is a compelling need to provide scholarships to Jewish day schools for needy children, you can begin those scholarships now and direct your estate to complete the balance of the funding. Alternatively, you can designate your entire legacy to be funded after your lifetime if that is more appropriate for you.

How should I fund my legacy?

With the help of the Foundation and your professional advisors, you will carefully choose the source of dollars to help fund your legacy. Examples include retirement funds, highly-appreciated stock and real estate.

How should I structure my legacy?

Depending on your goals, your legacy can be structured in the way that is most advantageous for you. You, your spouse and family members can receive income for life through charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and pooled income funds. Or your legacy can be a simple bequest in your will or trust.

How can my legacy inspire the community?

The legacy planning process can be a wondrous journey. It can engender heartfelt conversations with your family and build bonds with your partners in your community. It is truly a way to let your name be remembered as a blessing.

Your promise to provide for the Jewish community after your lifetime also makes you eligible to sign the Book of Life, a treasured archive. By inscribing your name and including a personal message, you express your belief in and commitment to Jewish values and heritage—ensuring that our people will survive and flourish. The Book of Life is displayed prominently at the Jewish Community Foundation, an ever-growing record of names and legacies—a true portrait of our community.

How can I get started?

Simply call the Jewish Community Foundation at 858-279-2740 or your favorite organization(s) for a confidential meeting. We look forward to working with you to keep our community strong and vibrant for generations to come.