Leaving a Legacy

Author: Kelli King-Jackson

The day Prince died a little bit of all of us left this earth. Musically, Prince was a staple in my romantic life since adolescence. As a child of the 90’s I knew the re-imagined star. The one who fought to get free legally and financially from record labels. Prince was an example of how millennials could show up in the workplace, especially artists. My artistic friends read books about contracts and copyright as they sought to protect their gifts from the corporate machine.

As an adult, philanthropy – the notion of giving time, talent and treasure to causes that one is passionate about – is at the heart of who I am. My family gives to several charities monthly, for many years we were faithful church tithers and when possible and appropriate, we contribute to family/friends in need. We also mentor and give back by volunteering with local nonprofits. As such, I was emotionally moved when I learned about Prince’s philanthropic work after his death. Prince contributed financially to countless nonprofits, arts events and more. He often gave anonymously or on the condition of anonymity. Prince gave innovatively to places like Harlem Children’s Zone by extending lines of credit so he could maintain an ongoing involvement vs. contributing a one-time gift. I need y’all to know how flabbergasted I was that there is no will being presented from one of the many lawyers who represented and/or befriended him. Would a man so methodical and controlling about his art not have a plan for his assets after death? Possibly.

Without judgement, this idea of legacy is one I want more Black philanthropists to consider today. At Blackwood Advisors (parent organization to UjimaSouth) we encourage every client to have a Legacy Plan, a road map on how assets should be philanthropically disbursed when they die. Here are three tips to help you develop your Legacy Plan:

1. Create a will. There are countless reasons to have a will, especially in large families or families with minimal experience handling wealth. Your will should include a plan for how you want any assets to be distributed. The ways assets of public figures and individuals with significant wealth are disbursed after death can impact one’s image and impact – for good or bad – for generations.  Seriously consider discussing your will with your heirs. At a minimum, make sure a copy of your will is easily accessible upon your death.

2. If you have favorite charities consider leaving some, if not all, of your assets to them. Once you decide where and what to give, contact the organization. Remember you can leave organizations cash, stocks and more. A significant one-time gift can be a way to help your favorite charity establish an endowment or purchase/pay off debt on property. No matter what you give just make sure your intended beneficiary has the capacity to administer any significant gift you leave behind.

3. You can be an anonymous giver. Trusts or donor advised funds are one way to give anonymously. If you have assets that you want to leave to benefit causes/organizations you care about you can set up funds that allow your money to generate interest and be distributed anonymously according to your interests. Again, having a plan ensures that no matter who oversees your assets your wishes will be honored — if you you do not want the benefactors to know you/your estate were the source of the donation(s).  In these instances, monies and assets can be distributed quickly or over a period of time.

Note: Blackwood Advisors and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This information is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to provide or be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. Always consult your own tax, legal or accounting advisors before making any decisions.

If you need of philanthropic advising services please contact us at info@blackwoodadvisors.co.