Press & Media

For Immediate Release: 3/17/2022

Studies Show More Americans Are Creating Wills Online Launches Free Online Will Planner

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 3/17/2022

Prior to COVID-19, more than half of all Americans (about 60 percent) lacked an estate plan. Now, more than two years later, that number has started to change for the better — and nonprofits with planned giving programs are taking notice.

Stories in The Wall Street JournalForbes, and ABC News all detail studies showing some Americans have gotten more serious about their end-of-life plans since 2020. The majority seem to be younger adults from 18-34.

However, the studies show there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Middle- and older-aged adults are now even less likely to have a will — meaning that after their passing, the government takes a substantial portion of their assets in taxes, and gets final say on how to disburse the remainder of the estate.


William G.P. Scheller
Chief Strategic Officer
1288 Valley Forge Road
Unit 82
Valley Forge, PA 19460

Online Will-Planning Popularity Grows

The pandemic also caused a shift in how estate plans are made. Although experts recommend hiring an attorney, in this age of social distancing many Americans are turning to online will planning because it doesn’t require a face-to-face meeting (and they can always send their will to a lawyer for review).

It’s a trend nonprofits are watching closely, because if the will planner is hosted on a planned giving website, it makes it even easier for supporters to include transformative gifts to their favorite organizations.

To that end, PlannedGiving.Com has taken the lead by creating a free (for donors) online will planner called LegacyPlanner. “LegacyPlanner serves as a reminder for donors to get their estate in order. It also gives them an opportunity to invest in their legacy by making your organization part of their estate plans,” says Viken Mikaelian, CEO.

Prime Time to Promote Estate Planning

Because of the renewed interest in estate planning — and because many Americans still lack a will — now is a prime time for nonprofits to remind supporters about the importance of estate planning, Mikaelian says.

“My own father died without a will. It took my wife and I over a year of hard work to sort out his estate for my mom. Our family would have had time to properly mourn his passing had he been better prepared.”

The experience inspired Mikaelian to help spread the word about estate planning.

A Host of Estate Planning Tools

PlannedGiving.Com offers a suite of other estate planning products as well, including an estate planning kit called Live Well, Leave Well. “We want to inspire people to think about and plan for the inevitable,” Mikaelian says. “We want to inspire them to shape their legacy while also sparing their families unnecessary pain.”

PlannedGiving.Com has been helping nonprofits meet their digital and print planned giving marketing needs since 1998. To learn more, visit PlannedGiving.Com.


William G.P. Scheller
Chief Strategic Officer

For Immediate Release: 3/7/2022

Nonprofits Turn to Planned Giving in Uncertain Times

Valley Forge, Pennsylvania Expands Services to Help Nonprofits Meet Marketing Needs

The last two years have been a roller-coaster ride for nonprofits. COVID-19 has been a social, economic, and health-related disaster, and its impact on communities the world over was swift and devastating.

And even though charitable giving rose in response to the pandemic, nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes have been stretched to the limit. Increased demand for services coupled with staffing and materials shortages have become the new normal. Annual giving campaigns have been impaired by ever-changing guidelines and restrictions on public gatherings. Many charities have been forced to shut their doors, and studies show at least 1 in 3 are at risk of closure in the next two years.

But as Viken Mikaelian, CEO of PlannedGiving.Com points out, “Planned gifts have been a veritable lifeboat during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Savvy organizations are using planned giving to chart a course toward growth and sustainability, while others scramble to make ends meet because they’re relying only on annual giving.”

Planned giving — also called legacy giving — enables philanthropic individuals to make larger gifts to charitable organizations than they normally could make from ordinary income. A planned gift is any major gift, made in lifetime or at death as part of a donor’s overall financial and/or estate planning.

Types of planned gifts donors can give include:

  • cash
  • appreciated securities/stock
  • equity
  • real estate
  • mineral rights
  • artwork or other collectibles
  • partnership interests
  • personal property
  • life insurance
  • a retirement plan
  • cryptocurrency

And many planned gifts offer significant benefits to the donor — from substantial tax savings to a lifetime income stream.

“Planned giving is hot right now,” Mikaelian says. “We’re in the middle of the Great Wealth Transfer; retirement plans are bursting; and many Americans who are retired or close to retirement are considering their legacy.”

To meet the added demand, PlannedGiving.Com has been ramping up services. Just this year, the marketing company added a free online will planner called LegacyPlanner™, which nonprofits can have embedded into their planned giving websites.

“Over 60% of Americans do NOT have a will,” says Viken Mikaelian, CEO. “LegacyPlanner™ serves both as a reminder and an opportunity for donors to get their estate in order. It also gives them an opportunity to invest in their legacy by making the nonprofit part of their estate plans.”

PlannedGiving.Com’s other services include planned giving websites, direct mail, brochures, estate planning toolkits, explainer videos, donor albums,  story writing, accredited courses, webinars, and more.

“We focus on making planned giving simple — not complicated,” Mikaelian says. “What sets our services apart is that we believe planned giving is a people business, not a legal business. We tell our nonprofit clients, ‘If you love people, you will raise more money than you ever imagined.’”

PlannedGiving.Com has been helping nonprofits meet their planned giving marketing needs since 1998. To learn more about their services and set up your own planned giving program, visit PlannedGiving.Com.


William G.P. Scheller
Chief Strategic Officer
1288 Valley Forge Road
Unit 82
Valley Forge, PA 19460

For Immediate Release: 2/10/2022

Announcing LegacyPlanner™: A free, online will-planning service that benefits both donors and nonprofits is excited to announce the release of LegacyPlanner, a new proprietary online will-planning service for nonprofits that aims to grow endowments while reducing the alarming number of Americans who lack an estate plan. It’s a bequest and will planner in one.

“According to Gallup, less than 50% of Americans have a will, and some estimate as high as 68% do not,” says Viken Mikaelian, CEO. “LegacyPlanner serves both as a reminder and an opportunity for donors to get their estate in order. It also gives them an opportunity to invest in their legacy by making the nonprofit part of their estate plans.”

Although experts agree that estate plans should be created by an attorney (LegacyPlanner advises the same), many people still prefer to do it themselves, or at least use an online will service to get started. LegacyPlanner is free for the donor and its charitable component suggests a gift through their estate for the nonprofit. This inspires potential donors who were merely thinking about making a gift to finally take action — a win for all.

LegacyPlanner is unique in that it was developed specifically for use by nonprofits. “LegacyPlanner is designed to directly integrate into planned giving websites,” Mikaelian says.  This tight integration maintains the nonprofit’s brand and trust, thus protecting the organization’s reputation.”

“Our service is in stark contrast to other online will preparation services that redirect donors from their website to another destination. Such a redirect potentially offers security risks as well as exposure to third-party, non-endorsed legal consultation.”  This is usually concerning to nonprofit board members since they feel a donor can potentially have a negative experience, thereby eroding goodwill and trust the nonprofit has built over years.

“Educating donors to invest in their legacy, rather than just create a will online, is a major paradigm shift,” Mikaelian says. “LegacyPlanner is a win-win, both for donors and nonprofits. It helps donors prepare some of the most important documents they’ll ever sign; keeps your nonprofit top-of-mind, and opens the door to discuss other planned giving options.” has been helping nonprofits meet their planned giving marketing needs since 1998. To learn more about LegacyPlanner, visit


William G.P. Scheller
Chief Strategic Officer
1288 Valley Forge Road
Unit 82
Valley Forge, PA 19460


Legacy Gifts, also known as Planned Gifts, have long been seen as an option reserved only for larger charities. Smaller charities with limited budgets and undersized staffs were forced to fight an uphill battle. Caught in a rollercoaster cycle of constant annual giving campaigns just to keep the lights on, they lacked the time and means to establish the safety net of a planned giving program.

But now, for the first time ever, smaller charities can easily and affordably launch a planned giving program that will help them navigate uncertain times, plan for the future, and carry their mission forward for generations to come. The timing couldn’t be better, either: cash giving is down; charities are struggling; and we’re in the midst of the Great Wealth Transfer, in which Baby Boomers will pass down more than $84.4 trillion in assets by 2045. Imagine what even a fraction of that could do for your nonprofit!

Turnkey, cost-effective and powerful, PlannedGiving.Com’s LegacyMicro planned giving website is specifically designed with the smaller shop in mind. It provides excellent visibility and SEO; covers all the essential legacy gifts (Gifts Anyone Can Make; Gifts That Provide Income; Gifts That Protect Assets), details how each gift works; and is branded to your nonprofit.  

The LegacyMicro site also includes sample gift language; a codicil download; a glossary of planned giving terms; engaging gift-explainer videos, a calendar and marketing guide; and even a comprehensive planned giving education for your fundraisers in the form of micro lessons and webinars. In short, it contains everything a small or medium-sized shop needs to start and maintain a successful planned giving program—at a very budget-friendly price. There’s even an option to incorporate the LegacyPlanner™ — PlannedGiving.Com’s will-planning tool that’s free for donors to use.

Planned giving has an undeserved reputation as being complicated, but the truth is the most popular planned gifts, such as bequests, are also among the easiest to make. In 2022, bequests alone accounted for about $45.60 billion in gifts—and they represented just 9% of all charitable gifts. That’s why it’s so important for nonprofits to launch and maintain a planned giving program, even if it covers just the basic gifts. And as college giving steadily declines, smaller shops are vying for their shot as philanthropists look for new opportunities to do good and build legacies. 

The LegacyMicro planned giving website has been developed for you to gain exceptional value without requiring handholding. The best time to start a planned giving program was 25 years ago. The next best time is now. What are you waiting for?

“Planned gifts can get complicated. But marketing them shouldn’t be.”

~ Viken Mikaelian