Leaving a Legacy Gift

Leaving a Legacy Gift

One of the touchstone values of IJS is Hesed, the loving connection that binds together individuals, communities, and all of Creation. In our tradition, the ultimate expression of Hesed extends beyond our own lives. Tending to and escorting the body of one whose soul has departed is known Hesed shel Emet, the truest form of loving connection.

The way in which we direct our resources upon our death can likewise be an expression of Hesed shel Emet. Leaving a legacy gift to causes and organizations one cares about—like IJS—is a profound, life-giving act of Hesed.

A charitable bequest is one of the easiest and most flexible ways that you can leave a gift to IJS that will make a lasting impact. With a carefully considered gift strategy and estate plan, you can create a lasting philanthropic contribution that supports IJS’s mission to cultivate mindfulness, deepen connection, and enliven Jewish Life.


A bequest is a meaningful way to support IJS without affecting your cash flow during your lifetime. Your attorney can include it when you prepare or revise your will, or you can add a codicil at any time. Whatever form of bequest you choose, it is not subject to federal estate taxes and so may reduce the tax burden of an estate. The value of the bequest may be deducted when the taxable estate is determined, and there is no limit to the deduction.

A bequest of cash is best. If a bequest other than cash is contemplated (i.e. stock, real estate), the donor should first reach out to IJS to discuss the matter.

There are several types of bequests, including specific, residuary, and contingency.

A Specific Bequest

A specific bequest indicates the amount of cash, securities, or other assets you wish to leave to benefit IJS. Or, it can indicate a specific percentage of the total value of your estate.

Sample Language for a Specific Bequest
“I give, devise, and bequeath to IJS the sum of dollars ($ X.XX) (or % of my residuary estate) as an unrestricted gift, to be used at the sole discretion of IJS.”

Or, you can make a bequest for specific assets, such as securities, real estate, or personal property. Please be as specific as possible in identifying the asset.

“I give, devise, and bequeath to IJS my [insert description or identifying information of the asset], to be used and/or disposed of, as IJS determines, in its sole discretion, for its benefit.”

A Residuary Bequest

A residuary bequest leaves the remaining “residual” portion of your estate (or a percentage of the total) after all other bequests have been satisfied.

Sample Language for a Residuary Bequest
“I give, devise, and bequeath to IJS X percent of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate as an unrestricted gift, to be used at the sole discretion of the IJS.”

A Contingency Bequest

A contingency bequest, takes into account the possibility of a change in your circumstances. For example, you might leave IJS a bequest if another heir predeceases you.

Sample Language for a Contingency Bequest
“I give, devise, and bequeath [insert beneficiary name] X percent of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate if s/he survives me. If [insert beneficiary name] does not survive me, I give, devise, and bequeath to IJS, X percent of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate as an unrestricted gift, to be used at the sole discretion of IJS.”

Unrestricted and Restricted Gifts

Gifts that do not restrict the IJS’s use (unrestricted gifts) are especially appreciated by IJS as they allow IJS to channel resources where the needs are the greatest. IJS is also grateful for gifts that are designated for a specific purpose that advances its mission (restricted gifts), such as support to a specific initiative or program such as the Awareness in Action Program. If you are interested in making a restricted bequest, it is important that you include the following “alternative use” language to ensure that IJS may re-designate the use of your gift if the specified initiative, program, or purpose ceases to exist or does not require funds at some point in the future.

Sample Alternative Use Language for Restricted Bequests
“I give, devise, and bequeath to IJS the sum of dollars ($ X.XX) to be used for the [insert name of IJS program] for so long as IJS determines that the need exists. Should the program or its funding need no longer exist, IJS may, in its sole discretion, direct the use of my bequest for a purpose related as closely as possible to my original intent.”

Individual Retirement Account Beneficiary Designations

There is an additional planning technique that you might discuss with your attorney. IRA and similar qualified retirement accounts may be subject to both estate and income taxes at the death of a surviving spouse, thereby significantly reducing benefits for your family. Naming IJS as a beneficiary on the death of a surviving spouse will reduce the tax impact and benefit IJS.

IJS suggests that you consult with your attorney before making any changes to your will.

Letter of Intent

Fill out the form below to affirm your legacy commitment to IJS. This letter of intent is just that, not a legally binding document.

Can we share your name publicly to encourage others to create legacy gifts with IJS?*

Have Questions?

Fill out the form below to submit your questions or comments to Maidelle Goodman Benamy.