Speaking out for People with
 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Estate Planning: Wills and Bequests

The foresight of past VOR members and supporters has helped VOR plan for tomorrow by building a permanent growing fund that will provide for advocacy and all of the critical VOR services for future generations. Founded more than 35 years ago in 1983, VOR is a national 501(c)(3) organization governed by a volunteer board of directors and funded solely by dues and donations. We receive no government support. Through generous donations and bequests, VOR is able to represent individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and guardians.


A will is simply a legal record of a person’s wishes regarding the eventual use of assets accumulated during a lifetime. These instructions regarding the dispensation of the assets are bequests.

A will is a very powerful instrument, as it gives you the opportunity to:

  1. Direct to whom and when distributions are to be made;
  2. Choose the individual or individuals to carry out your wishes;
  3. Select a guardian for minor children and adult family members adjudicated incompetent; and
  4. Preserve as much of the estate as possible through the judicious use of tax saving
    devices and opportunities.

Without a will, your estate will be distributed according to state law. It is unlikely that the state legislature is familiar with your wishes.  Distant relatives may share your estate instead of those individuals and charitable organizations you want to support.

While a will is a free standing document, it can also be used to create a variety of other plans that take effect either immediately following your death or many years thereafter. The future security of your surviving spouse, children, or others can be assured through a will.

Charitable Bequests

As a form of giving, charitable bequests provide flexibility, because they may be changed at any time during your life. Bequests can be made in memory of a loved one, which provide a meaningful way to create a memorial that lives on in service to others.

Through a bequest to VOR, you can provide financial stability to ensure that we are able to carry out our mission for years to come.

To make a charitable bequest you simply direct in your will that your interest in certain money or property be transferred to a designated charity. Your estate will be entitled to a charitable deduction for the full, fair market value of your gift. There are several forms of an outright bequest:

  • Specific Bequest-A bequest of this type may involve the designation of the precise amount of money or the specific property (e.g. specific shares of stock, real estate) that you want VOR to receive.
  • Residuary Bequest-Through a residuary bequest VOR will receive all (or a portion of) your estate after all debts, taxes, expenses, and all other bequests have been paid. It may augment a general or specific bequest to VOR, if the size of the estate allows, or may ensure that other beneficiaries receive their bequests prior to distribution to VOR.
  • Percentage Bequest-You may direct that VOR receive a percentage of your estate, as part of the residuary estate. This bequest will change proportionately with the growth of your estate.
  • Contingent Bequest-Is important to provide for the situation of when a beneficiary dies before you or disclaims the property you are leaving them. To prepare for such an occurrence, consider name VOR as the contingent beneficiary.

Writing a Bequest:

Wills and Trust Agreements should be drafted by an attorney. When including a bequest to VOR in your will the following language may be used: "I give, devise and bequeath, to VOR ______ percentage of all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate (or _________dollars, property, security, etc described below) wheresoever located to be used for the benefit of VOR in such manner that the Board of Directors thereof may direct.”

A will often includes bequests to more than one charitable organization. Please consider including VOR as one of those charitable bequests.  VOR can receive bequests for unrestricted and restricted purposes.