A charitable bequest is one of the easiest and most flexible ways that you can leave a gift to a charity that will make a lasting impact.
Benefits of a bequest
- Receive an estate tax charitable deduction
- Reduce the burden of taxes on your family
- Leave a lasting legacy to charity
How a bequest works
A bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. With the help of an attorney, you can include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to family, friends or your favorite charity as part of your estate plan, or you can make a bequest using a beneficiary designation form.
Here are some of the ways to leave a bequest to a charity
- Include a bequest to a charity in your will or revocable trust
- Designate a charity as a full, partial or contingent beneficiary of your retirement account (IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or pension)
- Name a charity as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy
A bequest may be made in several ways
- Percentage bequest - make a gift of a percentage of your estate
- Specific bequest - make a gift of a specific dollar amount or a specific asset
- Residual bequest - make a gift from the balance or residue of your estate
If you have any questions about leaving a bequest to us, please contact us. We would be happy to assist you. If you have been so generous as to include a bequest to a specific charity as part of your estate plan, please take the time to let them know. Many charities like to recognize donors and their families for their generosity.
The method used to make a bequest will depend on the kind of gift you choose to leave to a charity.
Bequests of real estate, personal property, business interests and cash are typically made by way of a will, revocable trust or even a simple codicil to your current estate plan. Your estate-planning attorney can assist you in preparing the necessary papers for you to complete the bequest.
Other bequests, such as those involving retirement assets, insurance policies, bank accounts and stocks and bonds, are typically made by completing the appropriate beneficiary designation form. Simply contact your retirement plan administrator, life insurance company, bank or investment broker and ask them to send you the appropriate "beneficiary designation" or "payable on death" form. To complete your bequest, you will need to complete and sign the form and then send it back to the person who originally sent the form to you.
The last step in leaving any bequest involves the transfer to charity. When you pass away, the bequest property will be transferred to a charity. The full value of this gift will be transferred tax-free and your estate will receive an estate tax charitable deduction.