Whether supported through an outright gift or planned gift, CWC’s work is made possible through the generosity and commitment of people like you. A planned gift is one way many of our supporters choose to ensure continued protection of California wilderness and it may also further your financial goals.
What are planned gifts?
Planned gifts include gifts through your will, charitable gift annuities, gifts of life insurance, pooled income funds, and charitable trusts.
Benefits of Planned Giving
- Complete a lifetime of generous giving to the CWC
- Make a larger gift than might have been possible during your lifetime
- Reduction or avoidance of income taxes and estate taxes
- Meeting both your financial needs and philanthropic goals
Common types of estate and planned gifts.
Bequests and Wills
A bequest is a transfer of property by will—for example, cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, works of art, or antiques—to an individual or to a charitable organization such as the California Wilderness Coalition.
One of the most popular ways our supporters make a legacy gift is to leave a bequest through their will. The following is suggested language to use in wills and a variety of other estate planning tools.
Making a Gift to CWC
I give and bequeath the sum of $ ________ (or ________% of my estate) to the California Wilderness Coalition, which is located at 1212 Broadway, Suite 1700, Oakland, CA 94612, to be used for its general purposes.
You may also give a particular asset ("my shares of XYZ stock…") or a portion of the residue of your estate after other bequests have been paid ("50% of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate…").
There are many different types of trusts that can serve a variety of purposes. The advice of an attorney and qualified financial planner is necessary to assess your situation and decide which trust might best serve your goals. Please know, however that it is easy to include a gift to the CWC through your trust by using the language set forth above.
Also, there are trusts (called Charitable Remainder Trusts, please see below) that can provide you or your loved ones with a life income stream while also providing a gift to support the programs of the CWC. Please check with your financial advisor to determine what is best for your situation.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
A charitable remainder trust is an arrangement that allows you to receive an immediate income tax deduction and quarterly income payments for your lifetime, or a set number of years. After the term of the trust, your gift would provide the CWC with substantial funds to enable us to protect wild California.
When economic conditions are favorable, a charitable remainder trust can accomplish a variety of personal financial goals while providing long-term support for the CWC. You may establish this type of trust with a gift of $100,000 or more in cash, securities, real estate, or collectibles. Charitable remainder trusts allow you to diversify your assets without capital gains tax liability. When economic conditions are favorable, they have the potential to provide a hedge against inflation by generating increasing income payments over time. Charitable remainder trusts can be tailored to each donor's financial objectives.
Life insurance can be a valuable tool in estate planning. By naming beneficiaries on policies, the proceeds can be paid directly to that person or organization without having to go through the probate process. Another option is to make the proceeds payable to a person’s estate so it can be included in the total when specific or percentage bequests are made.
Life insurance also offers a wonderful way to make a charitable gift. It is possible to make gifts with "paid-up" policies, policies with premiums still due, policies where you can retain the right to a policy’s cash value, or by assigning the dividends in a participating policy. Check with your agent to see which option would be best for you.
Pay on Death or Transfer on Death Accounts
This estate planning tool can be an effective way to quickly transfer assets, such as bank accounts, to a beneficiary because it avoids that asset going through the probate process. It also allows you to change the beneficiary at any time.
When establishing the account, tell your banking representative that you wish it to be a Pay on Death account (some banks may call these Transfer on Death accounts). They will ask you for the name of the person or charitable organization you wish to receive the property upon your death.
Many individuals today have large qualified retirement plans such as IRAs, pension plans, 401(k) account, or Keogh plan. These assets have been growing tax-free for years. Once the owner begins to receive payments from the qualified plans, the distributions are taxed. The plans are also included in the owner's taxable estate. A retirement plan may be an excellent way for making a legacy gift to the CWC. For example, if your IRA, retirement or other qualified plan passes through your estate; your heirs must pay income taxes as they receive distributions. In contrast, the CWC, as a tax-exempt organization, would receive 100% of the retirement assets
One way to make a gift of your retirement plan is to create a charitable remainder trust through your will. It works like this: Your IRA assets will be transferred to a charitable remainder trust. There is no tax due because the charitable remainder trust is a tax-exempt entity. The trust will provide life income to the beneficiary (for example, your child) with an eventual gift to the CWC. The beneficiary will pay income tax on the distributions from the trust. Your estate will receive an estate tax charitable deduction for the value of the CWC’s right to eventually receive the trust assets.
To make this gift, you can simply notify your plan’s administrator of your wish to change the beneficiary. A "change of beneficiary" form will be required. Should you designate that your qualified retirement plan come directly to the CWC at your death, your spouse will need to sign consent to the designation. A consent is not necessary for an IRA unless you reside in a community property state.
If your spouse and children are currently the beneficiaries of your retirement plan, you can continue to keep them as beneficiaries, and also include the CWC as the beneficiary of a portion of the plan. Upon your death, the plan administrator can "cash out" the CWC’s share of the account without affecting your family’s portion of the account, so that the CWC, and your heirs, benefit from your retirement savings.
Sample beneficiary designation language for a spouse and the CWC:
The beneficiary is my spouse as long as he/she survives me. The beneficiary of any amount(s) remaining in the plan after the death of my spouse, or of the entire amount in the plan upon my death if my spouse does not survive me, or of any portion thereof which my spouse may disclaim, is the California Wilderness Coalition.
A gift of real estate can also be tax wise. A residence, vacation home, farm, acreage or vacant lot may have so appreciated in value through the years that its sale would mean a sizable capital gains tax. By making a gift of this property instead, capital gains tax, can be avoided. At the same time, the donor can receive a charitable deduction for the full market value of the property. Under certain circumstances, the donor may reserve the right to continue to occupy the home for a specified number of years or for the donor's lifetime (retained life estate) and still receive a charitable deduction.
The California Wilderness Coalition can benefit from gifts of all types of real estate, such as vacant land, a residence, a vacation home, a farm or commercial property. Donation of a property to the CWC can substantially reduce federal and state income tax liability as well as provide an immediate solution to marketing problems, eliminate carrying costs and remove the property from your gross taxable estate.
A gift of property to the CWC would entitle you to a charitable deduction for the property's fair-market value. Your deduction is limited to 30% of your adjusted gross income, with a five-year carry-over for any excess.
Donating your home or farm and retaining lifetime use
Leaving a personal residence, vacation home or farm to the CWC after your lifetime may offer immediate tax advantages. You can make the gift now, but reserve the right to use the home or farm for the rest of your life. This would entitle you to an income tax deduction for a portion of the gift's value, and lifetime enjoyment of your property. During your lifetime you will continue to be responsible for the real estate taxes, insurance and maintenance of the property.
Example: Mike Levy had been planning to leave his $325,000 home to the CWC through his will, but his accountant suggested making a gift now that reserves lifetime use. At his age of 80, his gift entitles him to an immediate income tax deduction of $198,341. Mike Levy’s tax savings enhance his spendable income without causing any disruption in his lifestyle.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-451-1450