A charitable bequest is simply a distribution from your estate to a charitable organization through your last will and testament. There are different kinds of bequests. For each, you must use very specific language to indicate the precise direction of your assets and to successfully carry out your final wishes. Any bequest must be made through a legal mechanism, such as a will. The following are four common types of bequests to consider:

General Bequests
are legacies left to certain people or causes that come from the general value of the estate, and are made by designating a specific dollar amount, a particular asset or a fixed percentage of your estate to the cause of your choice, such as the Baker Free Library.

Specific Bequests
are made when a particular item or property is bequeathed for a designated purpose. (i.e., supplies for children’s classes and events at the library; support for library technology resources used directly by library card holders.) A specific bequest does need to be worded carefully, with wording discussed by the donor and the library’s board of trustees, to ensure that the monies will have long-term use and availability. For example, a bequest made back in the 1990s for support of VHS tape purchases would not allow that money to be used for a newer format, such as DVD or Blu-Ray.

Residuary Bequests
are made when you intend to leave the residue portion of your assets after other terms of the will have been satisfied.

Contingency Bequests
allow you to leave a portion of your estate to a particular charity if your named beneficiary does not survive you.

If you are interested in make a bequest to the Baker Free Library, please contact Ann Hoey, chairman of the library’s Board of Trustees, at or Mark Leven, BFL Foundation Director, at

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