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Anyone Can Leave a Legacy for the Land

Hands making heart over sunset

August is Make-A-Will Month: Have you thought about your legacy?

Have you ever wished you could do more for the causes you care most about? During our lifetime, most of us don’t have unlimited financial resources to support the causes that matter to us. For many people, though, including a gift in their estate plans is both a meaningful and practical option.

Gift planning or “legacy giving” is about making a plan to contribute a gift to a non-profit organization in your will. While annual donations support current programs, a planned gift is a pledge you make for an organization’s future.

Since Kestrel’s founding in 1970, a growing number of donors have made bequests to help conserve the Valley’s forests and farms. These gifts have ranged from a few thousand dollars to more than $1,000,000. This foresight and generosity has helped Kestrel to build a strong foundation to conserve and care for Valley lands today and for generations to come.

Since there is no minimum amount for a bequest, anyone can make a meaningful pledge of a future gift to Kestrel to help protect special places in our Valley after their lifetimes. To make it easy to create your legacy, we’ve partnered with, a free online tool that can help you to complete a simple legal will in about 20 minutes, with the option to include a future gift to Kestrel.  You can begin planning your legacy today by clicking here.

If your estate is more complex and an attorney is helping you to create or update your will, you can still use the Freewill questionnaire to organize your thoughts. (See the sample bequest language below to share with your lawyer if you’d like to include Kestrel in your future plans.)

As part of our recent Promise to the Valley Campaign, we encouraged people to consider including Kestrel in their estate plans. As of July 2022, 80 members have let us know that they are planning to leave a future gift to help conserve and care for the Valley they love. If you plan to include Kestrel in your estate plans, please let us know so that we can thank you during your lifetime! Write to to share your legacy promise or to get more information on the process.

Joel Russell headshotThe survival of our species and the health of our planet depend upon nurturing the web of life that sustains us all. Land conservation is a positive response to our concerns about the future. I have included Kestrel Land Trust in my estate plans as a small way to create a meaningful legacy. Protecting the land in this beautiful Valley is a gift to our children, grandchildren, and all the human and nonhuman inheritors of our delicate planet.” – Joel Russell, Kestrel Board President


How to Make a Simple Bequest to Kestrel Land Trust

Here is language you can provide to your attorney if you wish to make an unrestricted gift as part of your estate plans:

“I give ________________________* [or the rest and residue of my estate] to Kestrel Land Trust Inc., a Massachusetts charitable non-profit organization, EIN 22-2746868, with its principal office in Amherst, Massachusetts, for its general purposes, without restriction.”

*can be a dollar sum, a piece of real estate, a percentage of the residuary estate, or all of the residuary estate.

The addition of this language to a will can usually be accomplished by communicating to your attorney that you wish to add a codicil to your existing document. If you are in the process of updating your will, ask your attorney to include these instructions in the revised document.

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