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There have been a few EA initiatives promoting leaving a bequest to charity.


There's also a movement of inheritors committing to donate some of their wealth, e.g., GenerationPledge, some of whom have ties to EA.

To inform some upcoming conversations and initiatives on these (and potentially a more formal, anonymous survey), I wanted to get some rough feedback from the EA (Forum) community.

In the comment threads below, I break down the questions in the title of this post for comments and agree/disagree voting.[1]

In addition to agree/disagree voting (please), I encourage you to see these questions as jumping-off points. Feel free to leave expansive comments on your personal experience and thought processes. I also welcome feedback on the questions, and how they could be better posed.

Thanks in advance for your input.

  1. I wanted to get a GuidedTrack survey up for this, but I couldn't get it going in time. I thought GPT knew or could learn that syntax, but it was too slow. Anyways, I think an open conversation is also helpful. ↩︎




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Wait a second I just realised a flaw in this system: I don’t think approval voting keeps track of how many people voted. Going forward PLEASE VOTE YES to this comment so I can keep count.

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Actually I'm wrong -- you see this when you hover-over; thanks Jack. I'll delete this comment

Q8: Is it important for you that your parents would approve of you donating from your inheritance (i.e., would it make it easier for you to do so)?

Q7: Would you consider making a pledge to donate from your inheritance?

Q6: Would you consider donating some substantial share of your inheritance to effective charities?

Q5: Do you expect to inherit more than $100k (in US dollar equivalent value of all assets) from your parents?

Q4: Whether or not you have written a will or plan to do so soon... do you intend to leave some or all of your assets to an effective charity?

Q3: Would you like to write your will within the next year, if an individual or organization you trust would help you do it?

Q2: Have you written a will involving a bequest to an effective charity/charities?

Yes, I have no kids but a large family. When I started to create the will, I planned to leave all of my estate to the next generation of my family. I planned to create a fund they could access to participate in extracurricular educational activities they otherwise could not.

I realized it was going to be a lot harder for me to donate 10% while working, at least at my current salary. I still needed to build a bit of a safety net and wanted to contribute to an RRSP. So, while working on the draft, I decided to add a 10% bequest to GWWC. However, upon having the final copy drafted, I ended up changing the number to 50%. Once I had decided to add the clause for the bequest pledge, raising the number was very easy as it would have minimal impact on my life and my ability to prepare for economic hardship or emergencies (compared to an income pledge, which would be more difficult). 

I believe this is an excellent way for Longtermists to have a larger impact on the future, acting as a self-imposed inheritance tax. So long as the giving is directed towards high-impact / effective charities. I have been considering how to present this belief more objectively and rationally. Discovering how many more people would create a bequest of their estate vs an income pledge if it was made easy (Q3, for example). And then look at the output of that over the span of 1-2 generations vs, convincing the smaller number of people to donate immediately based on income.

@david_reinstein did you gather any data?

I didn't end up getting around to do a more formal survey. Obviously the one in the approval voting above is deeply unscientific and doesn't represent any particular defined sample. 

"Have you established a legally binding will?" (I.e., bequest, i.e., 'last will and testament')