Planned Giving: How to Provide a Lasting Legacy of Freedom

You've spent a good portion of your life supporting the fight for Second Amendment rights. You're a member of the NRA. Maybe you're a member of BFA too. You've been shooting, collecting, and enjoying firearms for as long as you can remember.

And now, as you get a little older, you start to think about whether those rights will be there for future generations. After all, you've seen endless proposals for gun bans, ammo taxes, registration lists, and other infringements from those who think the Second Amendment is an archaic aberration in our Constitution. What does the future hold? Will all your support and good intentions be for nothing?

This is a discussion my wife and I had not long ago as we reviewed our wills. This is not the most pleasant discussion, talking about how all your stuff will get divided up when you kick the bucket. But it's a discussion responsible adults have.

My wife is Board President of her Parrish Council to help the poor and needy in our area. We make ongoing gifts to this charitable work and, especially at this time of year, buy toys for children and household necessities, food, and furniture to make life a little easier for those who have fallen on hard times. She wants to leave funds to further this mission.

Then there's family. We certainly want to leave a portion of our estate to various brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and others. They've played a big part in our life, so we think it's right to pass on something. It's just what you do.

For me as Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association and someone who has been deeply involved with this organization for more than a decade, I want to continue to support its work even when I'm gone. I've put in too much effort, I've spend too much time, to let this slide or leave things to fate.

There are many ways to leave something to BFA. And I've written up a short BFA Planned Giving Guide you can review.

What my wife and I are doing is pretty simple ...

In planning our individual wills, we considered three scenarios: 1) Something happens to me. 2) Something happens to my wife. 3) Something happens to both of us at the same time.

The first two scenarios are similar. If something happens to me, I designate a cash amount from my estate to go to BFA and the rest goes to my wife. If something happens to my wife, she designates a cash amount to go to her church charity and the rest goes to me.

The third scenario is the tough one because we have to decide how to dispose of everything we own, including our house, personal possessions, investments, and so on. It's not an easy scenario for which to plan, and a lot of thought and discussion has gone into it. The result? We'll leave a healthy portion to family, however, given our dedication to our respective priorities, we've decided to gift her church and BFA with significantly more than we had in our previous wills. And, of course, all my guns and gear will go the Buckeye Firearms Foundation to be auctioned at our annual Bash.

For us, we feel this is the best use of our estate. Of course, your situation will probably be very different. You may have children you want to care for. Or perhaps you have specific possessions you wish to leave to certain family or friends. You probably have charities, churches, and other priorities to consider. So you will need to work out your own formula for who gets what.

The most important thing to remember is that you MUST work this out in advance. If you don't have a will, and if you're not specific about who gets what, it will be up to someone else to make these decisions. No matter how well-meaning your family might be, they will never be able to do things exactly as you would like without your explicit direction, spelled out in an official will.

Worse, leaving things to others can also cause friction or even outright arguments and ill-feelings among your survivors. Some families end up in lawsuits over these details. This is not how you want family and friends to remember you.

If supporting your Second Amendment rights is important during your life, it may be even more important afterwards. So don't put off creating a will. If you have a will already and haven't looked at it in a while, now is the time to review it. Things change and wills need to be updated from time to time.

3 Important Tips:

1. Have a lawyer review your will. I know there's some cost involved, but it's worth it to make sure it's done right. Relying on do-it-yourself wills or templates you find online is not a good idea. This is not where you want to be frugal.

2. Appoint an executor you trust. Not everyone is organized and responsible. This is the person you're entrusting with your last wishes and there's no do over, so you need the most detail-oriented person you know to accept this responsibility. And you'll need one or two people as backups in case your first choice can't or won't do the job when the time comes.

3. Consider other giving options. A will is not the only way to leave something to BFA or another organization. Look at our BFA Planned Giving Guide for your other options.

Rights and responsibilities go hand-in-hand. It's up to each of us to fight for our rights and plan for the future of those rights. By taking time now to give a portion of your estate to Buckeye Firearms Association, you truly can provide a lasting legacy of freedom for those who come after you.

Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, recipient of the NRA's Club Recruiter of the Year Award, a marketing consultant who has worked with more than 300 clients worldwide, and a partner with Second Call Defense.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.