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March 17, 2018 Beyond The Dash

Setting Up a Memorial Trust or Scholarship

A lasting way to honor your loved one

Setting Up a Memorial Trust or Scholarship
Your loved one can live on in a memorial trust or scholarship. (Shutterstock)

There are many ways to honor a loved one who has passed away. Traditionally, families erect a tombstone, create a memory book or purchase a memorial bench for public use.

A more modern and charitable way to ensure a special person is remembered is to set up a trust or scholarship in their name. The cause you select can benefit those in need for generations to come. Your loved one will always live on forever in your heart, but a trust or scholarship ensures their legacy will be carried on in a meaningful way.

Choosing a cause 

Some families will set up a trust for a charity their loved one was passionate about, benefiting such causes as animal welfare or accessible education. Others establish a scholarship fund to benefit those seeking education related to the deceased person's interests. 

Set up a trust with the deceased person's favorite charity as the beneficiary to ensure their memory continues to help others. (Shutterstock)

Consider the deceased person's character when selecting the cause that will benefit. Knowing their career, passions, hobbies, interests, political affiliation, religion or charity of preference will guide you in making the right decision. 

The impact of ongoing support

Charities appreciate regular and continued support in order to plan aid endeavors and budget accurately. A trust that provides ongoing contributions to a registered charity goes a long way in helping make the world a better place. 

Starting a scholarship fund or trust gives charities the help they need, while carrying on the name and legacy of the person who has passed away. Though gone from this earth, the deceased person continues to make a positive impact. Contributions could send children to school, help rural areas get access to water or provide meals to those who are hungry, all long after they're gone.

Who can set up a trust or scholarship?

  • Family and friends

With enough wealth, anyone can establish a memorial fund or trust in the name of a deceased person of honor. Though most people do this within the first year or two following the death, a trust or scholarship can be set up any time. 

  • The deceased person

If the deceased person was wealthy, they may have made provisions in their will for charities, scholarships or trusts. In this case, it is up to the executor to act upon their wishes in accordance with the law. 

  • The next of kin

Anyone can establish a memorial trust for a deceased person, but it is usually the next of kin or direct family members who initiate a financial or charitable memorial. 

  • Companies or organizations

Companies and other organizations are known to set up trusts and scholarship funds for deceased employees or others who have influenced their organizations. If the deceased person donated generously to a charity, worked many years at a company or conducted influential research in a field of study, they are sometimes honored with a related trust in their name. 

How much does it cost?

Depending on the type of scholarship you'd like to establish, there may be a minimum amount needed. In general, you will need at least $25,000 to fund a $1,000 annually scholarship for 25 years. Some schools and organizations have established guidelines for their scholarships. For example, some universities set their minimum at $50,000.

If you decide to set up a memorial scholarship or trust in honor of your deceased loved one's life, consider how much you would like the scholarship to pay annually and how many people should benefit. 

Remember that a large startup fund can generate interest when invested wisely, and can continue to fund the scholarship for generations. Set a specific set of criteria, and create the application so that people may apply. This kind gesture will keep the legacy of your loved one alive.

Gone, not forgotten

Regardless of who sets up the trust or scholarship fund or when it is established, the important thing is that it continues the legacy of your deceased loved one. When starting any type of fund, the most important thing is that the love you have for your deceased friend or family member shines through. Their memory will live on in this lasting tribute.

Your loved one had a remarkable life. Tell their story, and we’ll publish it online for free.

After creating an online memorial, you can also publish in print in any of over 6,000 newspapers across North America.

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