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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I direct my planned gift to a particular chapter affiliate?

Yes, you can direct a gift to Special Olympics, Inc. global headquarters, your local chapter affiliate, or both. We can provide the information you’ll need to direct your gift appropriately.

Featured question: Can I take care of my family and make a gift?

Yes! We often hear that supporters don’t know how to care for their family’s future financial needs and include a gift for Special Olympics in their will. They were surprised and happy to learn they could do both:

“We just assumed that we would name our family as the only beneficiaries of our estate. But then we learned that we could provide for our family, then leave a small percentage of what’s left to Special Olympics—so we've provided for our children while also leaving a gift that will create a better future for them and their children.”

“At 65, I’m still uncertain about what the future holds. When will I retire? Will I have enough money for retirement? Will my children or grandchildren need financial support? Although I have a will and living trust and love the idea of including a gift in my plans to charity, I’m not ready to completely update my plans right now. Then I learned that I could simply log on to my retirement account and update my beneficiaries. Right now, my family will receive 100%, with Special Olympics named as a secondary, or backup, beneficiary. But later on, when I update all of my plans, I hope to name Special Olympics as the primary beneficiary for some or all of the funds.”

Do I need a will?

Everyone needs a will, regardless of age or wealth, and should review it every five years or so to ensure it’s up to date. A will accomplishes some very important tasks:
  • Directs your assets where you choose
  • Reflects your most important relationships, even those that are not recognized in law: companions, partners, caregivers, “honorary” family members, and others whom you would like to recognize in your plans.
  • Allows you to designate guardians, set up trusts for young family members or for those with special needs, and even provide for much-loved animal companions.
  • Can incorporate gifts to charity.
  • Appoints executors to help manage your estate.

What other planning documents do I need?

Some people find that creating a living trust is a better choice than utilizing a will as their primary planning documents, but your attorney can best advise you on whether a living trust, will, or both is appropriate for your situation.

Some other documents that should be included in your plan are:
  • Updated beneficiary designation forms: Some of your assets do not pass through your will – retirement plan assets, life insurance, and more. It’s important to designate beneficiaries for each of your accounts, and to discuss with your attorney the best way to direct your assets.
  • Financial power of attorney: A power of attorney document authorizes the person you choose to handle financial matters on your behalf if you are not able to or become incapacitated. The power of attorney is limited and only applies to the specific types of matters and transactions you authorize in the document. A financial power of attorney does not grant the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf and is only valid during your lifetime.
  • Advance care directive: This document helps you manage health care decisions. It allows you to share your wishes and preferences for medical and end-of-life care should you be unable to make those decisions for yourself. Depending on your state, you may be able to appoint the person you would like to make the decisions for you. In other states, there is a separate document called a health care power of attorney.

How often should I update my plans?

It’s a good idea to review your plans every five years or so, or when you anticipate or have experienced a significant life change: retirement, the birth or adoption of children or grandchildren, a change in your health situation, etc. A regular “tune-up” is a great way to ensure your plans will always accomplish what you choose.

I have a child with special needs. Is there anything I need to consider when making my plans?

When you have a loved one with special needs, planning for the future is even more important but can be more complicated. In addition to creating the necessary lifetime plans for yourself and your family, you may be concerned about how to manage care for your loved one and your assets when you are gone. It’s critical to seek the good counsel of an experienced attorney and financial advisor, particularly those who specialize in life and estate planning for people with special needs and their families.

Do you need to know if I include a gift to Special Olympics in my plan?

You are under no obligation to let us know that you’ve included a gift for Special Olympics in your plan, but we hope you will. There is no obligation attached to sharing your gift—you can change your mind at any time and for any reason. If you do share your wishes, we would love to welcome you to The Champion’s Society® and express our gratitude. When you share your future intentions, it means that we can more appropriately communicate with you by learning how and when you might like to hear from us—or not!

What if I have included a gift but change my mind?

The great advantage of future gifts in wills and other estate plans is that you can change your mind with no obligation. None of us know what the future holds or how our needs might change. That’s why it’s good to review and update your plans regularly. Sometimes that means a gift that had been directed to Special Olympics must be allocated to more pressing needs; other times it means that a gift to Special Olympics might be added. But the decision is always yours to make.

Should I talk to an attorney?

It’s always a good idea to discuss your particular situation with a qualified attorney. And if you have a family member with special needs, it’s imperative that you do so. Good counsel when planning can help avoid many problems later.

Can I discuss my options with you?

Always! We’re happy to speak with you at any time and will never pressure you to make a gift.

For more information, please contact us:

Connie Grandmason

Senior Director, Planned Giving
Tel: (202) 536-5541
Toll Free: (866) 690-3951

Sara Deur

Senior Manager, Planned Giving
Tel: (202) 964-2498