Most people have heard of private foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Because these names are associated with extraordinary wealth you may feel as though you have to be a billionaire to start a private family foundation.
In fact, there are thousands of foundations in existence that are not staffed that are funded with less than $1 million. The Association of Small Foundations has some good information to share if you are interested in learning some things about foundations before discussing vehicles of charitable giving with your estate planning lawyer.
Legacy planning can indeed be a very rewarding endeavor, and if you are in a position to do some good for others you may also enjoy some tax benefits, and this is something that your attorney will explain to you in detail.
Though private foundations are not strictly the domain of the super wealthy you do have other options. One of these would be to contribute resources into a donor advised fund.
As the name suggests, you as the donor advise the fund with regard to how you want your contributions distributed. So you can make just a single contribution into this fund but subsequently these resources could be spread around among multiple charities of your choosing.
When you are serious about planning ahead in a truly meaningful and comprehensive manner legacy planning may well be part of the equation. There is certainly no shortage of need out there, and we all have certain causes that are meaningful to us.