Help us write the next chapter...Leave a Legacy!
Bequests: Wills and Trusts
Goal: Defer a gift until after your
Benefit: Your donations are fully exempt from federal estate tax and you retain control of your assets
Perhaps the worst word ever heard in probate is intestate, dying without a will. Dying intestate prolongs the distribution of assets and in some cases precludes heirs from benefiting from a decedent's estate. Dying intestate empowers the state in which the person died to distribute the assets of the person who died according to the laws of that state.
Everyone should have a will. If you have not written a will yet, regardless of your charitable intent, please consider this for it is a gift to your loved ones. A will ensures that assets are distributed as planned, and that other property is passed on per the decedent's wishes.
Pete and Brian established a fund to acquire new titles for the library. They had initially made an outright gift of some appreciated stock, taking advantage of the tax benefits. They found it was very rewarding to see their fund in action and see the dedication that was placed in each new book their fund purchased. Later, they changed their will to include a bequest that will significantly add to the new book acquisition fund.
Pete: "We felt good about helping through our initial gift. But we had no idea what the impact would be on us as we watched it work."
Brian: "Over the years, we have seen a number of books aquired by the library through our little fund. I can't describe how good it feels to know that we are helping the library and providing resources that will be used long after we are gone."
Pete: "I feel like we really have accomplished something good!"
In addition to enabling them to satisfy their charitable desires, this was a wise financial move as they needed to retain control of their assets for future contingencies. While they knew the future is uncertain, Pete and Brian wanted to be sure that what they didn't need would go to help others. They also understood the importance of having a will.
For information regarding living trusts, please click here. To look at examples of bequest language, please click here for more information. There is some additional information available about the benefits of utilizing a charitable bequest and how bequests enable you to keep control of your assets. Also, bequests are often used to build an endowment, a fund that provides a legacy for you and provides for the future of the San Francisco Public Library. Codicils are a simple and easy way to make changes to an existing will.
Using funds from a retirement account to make bequests is often a good strategy. If there is a balance in your retirement account at your death, not only is there a potential income tax burden, but there may be estate taxes as well. Estimates are that taxes could eat up as much as 70-75% of retirement assets under certain circumstances. Careful planning concerning retirement funds needs to be done. Please click here for additional information regarding retirement assets.
Another option to consider in making a gift is to use life insurance policies that are no longer needed or necessary. Please click here for more information about different ways to make a gift of life insurance.
Often, donors are surprised both by how wonderful they feel about helping others and by the size of the gift they are able to make through a bequest. Pete and Brian found their experiences with charitable giving enriched their hearts and lives.
If you have already made a legacy gift, please let us know so we may send you an invitation to our Mary Louise Stong Society Legacy Circle. If you intend to make a planned gift or have any questions, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org.) or call our Chief Advancement Officer, Craig Palmer, at (415) 477-5220 so we may provide you with more information and answer your questions.