You can’t take it with you!!!!!

September 14, 2011 by Bruce Landsberg

While it’s kind of a downer, confronting your own mortality, I’m always buoyed by the comments of Freddy Heineken the late beer magnate. Freddy was reputed to have said something to the effect that the universe got along just fine in the 4 billion or so years before he came along and it didn’t bother him during that rather long gestation period, so presumably it would be about the same afterward. We have a variety of faith and psychological coping mechanisms to deal with the hereafter.  However,  that’s not where I was going, but rather to discuss the opportunity to really help GA and to leave a legacy. So many great activities benefit from bequests and, depending on how it’s structured, you can deprive the taxman of some of your hard earned dollars — not that any of us would want the government to do without.

GA has benefited significantly through some bequests to the Foundation. We’ve been able to put on about 20 additional safety programs annually and fund an online course from an endowment given by a pilot who wanted to be remembered for what he did and who he was.  I’ll write more on this in an upcoming column. Preserving the freedom of flight was vital to this pilot.

Like many non-profits, the AOPA Foundation has a Legacy Society which explains how to make a deferred gift.  It can be complex or very simple.

The Foundation will be offering a 30 minute planned giving seminar at AOPA Summit in Hartford to discuss the basics of wills and estate planning and show you how to create your own plan using the Foundation’s new Online Wills Planner.  The seminar will be held in the Learning Pavilion inside the exhibit hall, Thursday September 22 at 11am.

In the short term we hope to get no benefit out of any bequests since the Foundation’s mission is to keep pilots alive and flying for a long time but eventually, when you’re able to fly without man-made wings, you also won’t need man-made money either.  Finally, I’m reminded of a former flight student of mine, Fred, who was contemplating upgrading from a Cessna 172 to a 182. I told him to go for it but he was worried about the cost (he could certainly afford it!).  I told him he couldn’t take it with him, to which he replied that if that were the case, he wasn’t going.  Despite that, several years later he did, unfortunately proving that the only certainty in life is death and taxes. We’ll offer you a better alternative, at least on the tax side of the equation.

Bruce Landsberg
Senior Safety Advisor, Air Safety Institute

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