Volume LVIIMay 2010Number 2


So much of the great charitable legacy of Pennsylvania Freemasonry has been built through charitable bequests. "By your good deeds you will be remembered" has been demonstrated many times over the past 100 years by Masonic Charities donors. And wonderful people with big hearts are following in their footsteps today.

Despite this, however, there is a lot of misunderstanding about charitable bequests. Here are 10 popular myths that keep some people from making a wonderful parting gift to their favorite charity.

  1. Only wealthy estates can make a bequest. Big bequests from famous people make the news, but by far the greatest number of bequests comes from people of ordinary means. "Average" estates usually contain ample assets to make a gift.
  2. A small bequest won't do much good. In fact, small bequests are the stones that have built the charitable mountain. For example, some people "endow" the annual amount they give during life through a charitable bequest. If they give $200 a year during life, a bequest of just $4,000 will keep "giving" this amount each year permanently. You don't have to stop helping others when you die.
  3. Bequests are complicated and expensive to make. On the contrary, as part of a normal will-making process, bequests are simple to include and add little or no cost. Masonic Charities has a listing of the correct language to use for a bequest. It is available by calling 1-800-599-6454. Masonic Charities always recommends using a qualified attorney to draft a proper will.
  4. Bequests are either/or--it's either family or charity. Not at all. Many people include both family and charity in their will for a bequest. To make sure their family is not deprived of inheritance, they often make the charitable bequest a "residual" bequest, i.e., a percentage of the estate after other bequests are fulfilled.
  5. There's no recognition until after death. Masonic Charities recognizes all bequest donors immediately with an invitation to the Franklin Legacy Society, an invitation to the annual donor dinner, a nice gift, printing of their names in our publications (if desired), and a permanent inscription on our donor wall.
  6. Charitable bequests are uncommon. In fact, bequests are the most popular planned gift in the United States.
  7. You must tell the charity that it is in your will. There is no obligation of any sort to inform a charity that it is in your will. For Masonic Charities, there are some nice benefits if a donor does inform, as noted above, but there is no obligation.
  8. There are no benefits to the donor for leaving a charitable bequest. In addition to the specific Masonic Charities benefits noted above, there can be important tax saving benefits to the donor's estate for a charitable bequest, and even financial benefits to their heirs that last for years. Please call us for information about this.
  9. If you've already completed your will and you want to go back and include a charitable bequest, you have to do it all over again. By no means. A simple form called a "codicil" can be added to a completed will for a charitable bequest.
  10. Only the wealthy can leave a legacy. Every single person who makes a charitable bequest leaves behind a beautiful humanitarian legacy that reflects their values and the kind of person they are. Bequests are especially suitable for people who want to make a gift, but need to keep their assets during life.
For more information on making a charitable bequest to Masonic Charities or any charity, please contact the Office of Gift Planning nearest you. Or, visit our Web site at www.masonicvillagespa.org/howyoucanhelp.php.

Central Pennsylvania (717) 367-1121, ext. 33437 or (800) 599-6454
Eastern Pennsylvania (610) 825-6100, ext. 1348
Western Pennsylvania (412) 741-1400, ext. 3011 or (866) 872-0664
Out-of-State (717) 367-1121, ext. 33312 or (800) 599-6454

Financial information about Masonic Charities can be obtained by contacting us at 1-800-599-6454. In addition, Masonic Charities is required to file financial information with several states. Colorado: Colorado residents may obtain copies of registration and financial documents from the office of the Secretary of State, (303) 894-2680, http://www.sos.state.co.us/. Florida: SC No. 00774, A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE, WITHIN THE STATE, 1-800-HELP-FLA. Georgia: full and fair description of the programs and activities of Masonic Charities and its financial statement are available upon request at the address indicated above. Illinois: Contracts and reports regarding Masonic Charities are on file with the Illinois Attorney General. Maryland: For the cost of postage and copying, documents and information filed under the Maryland charitable organizations laws can be obtained from the Secretary of State, Charitable Division, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401, (800) 825-4510. Michigan: MICS No. 11796 Mississippi: The official registration and financial information of Masonic Charities may be obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State's office by calling 1-888- 236-6167. New Jersey: INFORMATION FILED WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING THIS CHARITABLE SOLICITATION AND THE PERCENTAGE OF CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED BY THE CHARITY DURING THE LAST REPORTING PERIOD THAT WERE DEDICATED TO THE CHARITABLE PURPOSE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY CALLING (973) 504-6215 AND IS AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET AT www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/ocp.htm#charity . REGISTRATION WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT. New York: A copy of the latest annual report can be obtained from the organization or from the Office of the Attorney General by writing the Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271. North Carolina: Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 1-888-830-4989. Pennsylvania: The official registration and financial information of Masonic Charities may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Virginia: Financial statements are available from the State Office of Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218. Washington: The notice of solicitation required by the Charitable Solicitation Act is on file with the Washington Secretary of State, and information relating to financial affairs of Masonic Charities is available from the Secretary of State, and the toll-free number for Washington residents: 1-800-332-4483. West Virginia: West Virginia residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, WV 25305. REGISTRATION IN THE ABOVE STATES DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION OF MASONIC CHARITIES BY THE STATE.

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