Planned giving is the process of making charitable gifts during your life or at your death as part of your individual financial or estate plan. This type of giving serves a dual purpose. Planned gifts help support charitable causes, and they help individuals address their own financial needs while using specific legal and tax strategies.

Estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Nor is it reserved only for very wealthy people. Everyone can make an impact with an estate plan that includes a charitable gift. Here are five things to know about creating your own estate plan:

1) It’s really quite simple!

Many people use the “+1” approach and name their favorite charitable organization alongside any other heirs in an estate plan. Whether it’s a life insurance policy, an annuity or another asset, simply adding the name of an organization you support during your lifetime creates a lasting legacy. AgeWell Services and its partners often host information sessions with elder law attorneys to answer your specific questions or give you tools to set up a planned gift.

2) You don’t have to be wealthy!

That’s right, anyone who leaves assets behind can decide how those resources will be directed. Along with leaving a gift for children or other family members, adding a charitable organization to your list of beneficiaries is one way to continue supporting the causes important to you.

3) Memorial gifts are another way to make a lasting impact!

Asking your loved ones to make a charitable gift in your memory in lieu of flowers is a very easy way to support charitable organizations after you’ve passed. Often, people who make their first gift in memory of a loved one become lifelong donors when they learn about the mission of a charitable organization. Even from the great beyond, your memorial gifts continue to make an important impact.

4) People don’t like talking about death!

It’s certainly a difficult topic to bring up with loved ones. And it often makes people sad or scared to think about dying or losing someone dear. Communicating your preferences with loved ones can help guide them through the fog of their loss and grief, making the process just a little easier. A solid estate plan also ensures your preferences will be honored. It’s definitely a tough conversation, but one that can bring peace of mind for everyone.

5) AgeWell Services is here to help!

We’re here to help steer you to appropriate resources and identify how you would like your gift known, dedicated and directed. You never have to do this alone. Planned gifts help support AgeWell Services, and they help individuals address their own financial needs while using specific legal and tax strategies.

If you are considering AgeWell Services in your estate plan or planning to direct memorial donations in your memory to AgeWell Services, please contact Advancement Director Diane at 231-683-2651 or via email at

About the Author

Diane Smith is the AgeWell Services Advancement Director.

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