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.
David and Ann established a scholarship that would help
particular students meet some of their college expenses. They had initially made an
outright gift of some appreciated
stock, taking advantage of the tax benefits, and later changed their will to include a bequest that will magnify
the scholarship tenfold.
Ann: "We felt good about
helping through our annual giving. But, we had no idea what
our support of Goodwill Suncoast would bring to us."
the years, we have since met with some of the staff.
I can't describe how good it feels to sit with these young people, to
hear them describe their dreams and ambitions. To realize that we have
become a part of their future and that they have become a part of our
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, Ann and David 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 Goodwill Suncoast. 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
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.
Ann and David found their experiences with charitable giving enriched their hearts and lives.
Return to the Legacy Giving home page or to the Quick Guide to Legacy Gifts.