There are a number of methods for you and your estate planning professional to consider if you wish to donate to Greenspace as part of your estate plan. Some of these methods are also tax saving mechanisms. However, it is important to remember that each individual’s financial situation is different and these methods should only be considered after consulting with your attorney or/or financial professional. It is important to seek the advice of an estate planning attorney and/or financial professional when you are arranging your estate planning. The rules are complex and constantly changing.
A will is a document that states how you would like your assets to be distributed upon your death and can be revised throughout your life. There are a variety of ways to donate to Greenspace through a will:
- • You can give Greenspace a specific amount of money. For instance, you could state in your will that you give $10,000.00 to Greenspace. You can also specify where that money will be spent, such as stating that you give $15,000.00 for the Greenspace Creekside Preserve.
- • You can give Greenspace a specific property. For instance, you could state in your will that you give Greenspace a certain parcel of property. Or you can specify that you give Greenspace a certain stock that you own.
- • You can give Greenspace a specific percentage of your estate. For instance, you could state in your will that you give Greenspace 10% of your total estate.
- • You can give Greenspace the residue or remainder of your estate. This means that you give Greenspace all monies that are left over after all your other bequests to family and friends have been fulfilled.
- • You can name Greenspace as the recipient of any gifts that cannot be fulfilled. In this way, if you leave a gift to someone who cannot receive it, for whatever reason, that gift will go to Greenspace.
Revocable Living Trust
A Revocable Living Trust is an instrument created to manage your property while you are alive, provide for management of your property if, at some point in the future, you can't manage your own affairs, and distribute your assets after your death. Throughout your life, you have the opportunity to revise your trust and change the gifts noted therein. It is possible to donate to Greenspace through a Revocable Living Trust in many of the same ways that you can donate through a will: donating a specific amount of money, specific property, a percentage of your estate, the remainder of your estate, etc.
Charitable Remainder Trust
A Charitable Remainder Trust is created by placing some of your assets into a trust that is set up to pay income to you and/or other beneficiaries for a certain period of time. At the time of your death, the remaining assets in the trust go to Greenspace. This gift of the remaining assets is what is known as the charitable remainder. Charitable Remainder Trusts can be either Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts, providing you with a fixed income each year, or a Charitable Remainder Unitrust, providing you with a variable annual income. There is also a Charitable Lead Trust, where payments would be made to Greenspace throughout the life of the trust and then the trust assets are returned to you or to another beneficiary.
Often life insurance policies that were originally purchased for specific reasons, such as paying for your children’s college, protecting a home mortgage, or supplementing your retirement, are no longer needed for these purposes. There are a number of methods you can use to donate life insurance proceeds to Greenspace: You can name Greenspace as the Primary Beneficiary of the policy. This way Greenspace will receive all of the proceeds of the policy. You can name Greenspace as a Co-Beneficiary of the policy. This way Greenspace will share the proceeds of the policy with others you choose. You can name Greenspace as the Contingent Beneficiary. This way Greenspace will receive the proceeds of the policy if one or more of the other beneficiaries have already passed away.
Retirement Plan Gifts
Many people have set up retirement savings plans that include IRAs, 401(k)s and other plans. There are several ways that you can donate to Greenspace using your retirement savings plan assets, whether you have accumulated excess funds in your tax-deferred retirement plan or you are required to make mandatory withdrawals from your accounts.
You could leave some or all of the funds remaining in your retirement account upon your death to Greenspace, which might possibly decrease estate taxes and/or income taxes.
Or you can donate a percentage of your required withdrawals (if you are over age 70-1/2) or a percentage of early withdrawals you might choose to take (if you are over age 59-1/2) to Greenspace. Donating to Greenspace as part of your retirement plan will most likely result in a reduction in taxes.
However, it is imperative that you consult with your tax accountant before making any changes in your plans.
Again, Greenspace would like to stress that it is important to consult with an estate planning attorney and/or financial professional in order to determine which of these options, or what other option, would best benefit you and your heirs while supporting Greenspace with its mission to protect and enhance the North Coast area of San Luis Obispo County’s ecological systems and cultural resources through land acquisition and management, public education and advocacy.