Our journey to the next life, and what becomes of the things we have acquired, is one subject that few of us want to talk about. Tangible assets are part of our journey and can be a gift to share beyond our short lifetime here. A bequest to BrightHaven Sanctuary will ensure the gift of life for elderly, rescue and special needs animals for the future, and will allow us to continue our programs of education, rescue and consultation.
What are Options?
There are many other options for planned giving which can provide benefits either immediately or after retirement, reducing income and estate taxes. Some types of gifts virtually eliminate estate taxes, while others greatly reduce the amount of tax you are responsible for during your lifetime.
It is important to explore all options with your tax consultant and financial or estate planner so that both you and the animals receive the full benefit of any considered gift.
Bequests: Wills & Living Trusts
Bequests are the most popular and uncomplicated form of planned giving and can be as simple as including one or two sentences in your existing will or living trust. A bequest to BrightHaven will allow you to achieve a 100% charitable estate tax deduction.
Bequests can include cash, securities, real estate, houses and personal property such as valuable collections, art or jewelry. It is preferable that bequests be designated for BrightHaven’s “general purposes” so they can be used where the need is greatest.
Designate a specific dollar amount, a set percentage or specific property to BrightHaven.
Once all debts, expenses and Specific Bequests are paid from your estate, the remaining amount would be transferred to BrightHaven.
Life Insurance Gifts
Make BrightHaven the owner and beneficiary of a life insurance policy, without using any of your estate’s capital. Doing so will earn you an immediate tax deduction equal to the policy’s cash value. Contact the policy’s issuing agent for instructions.
Some assets, such as IRAs, Keogh Plans, and other qualified retirement plans, do not pass directly through your will and require you to name a full or partial beneficiary. Such plans can be excellent choices for charitable giving because they are taxed more heavily than other assets—sometimes greater than 60 percent. However, by making BrightHaven the beneficiary, the full value of the account will pass to BrightHaven.
Certificates of Deposit
A relatively easy planned giving option is to buy a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at your local bank and name BrightHaven as the beneficiary, payable on death. The CD can remain on deposit earning interest until the holder’s death, then BrightHaven would receive its value. Make sure the CD you buy automatically rolls over and maintains the beneficiary designation.
Charitable Gift Annuities
These provide a source of secure, fixed income for life as well as immediate and numerous tax benefits. Gift annuities may be a good option for donors age 65 and older. With a Flexible Deferred Gift Annuity you can receive an immediate charitable tax deduction to offset your current tax bill, and when you are ready to retire you can begin taking payments for life.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
A charitable remainder trust is one of the more complex estate planning options but provides greater flexibility. It can be a very good choice for those who own significantly appreciated assets (such as rental property) and want to receive income for life. The donor transfers the asset to the trust, where it is sold, avoiding capital gains tax. The proceeds are invested with the donor, who receives payments for life or a set term. At the end of the trust’s life, the remaining principal is gifted to BrightHaven.
Gifts of Stocks, Bonds & Securities
Transferring your appreciated shares of stock directly, rather than selling them and remitting the proceeds, allows you to avoid all capital gains and resulting taxes. The IRS allows you to claim the full fair market value of the shares, calculated on the day they are received as a charitable gift.
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