You'd like to help build the long-term financial strength of The Nature Conservancy, but feel you cannot make a significant gift today. Your solution may be a charitable bequest. A bequest under your will or revocable trust can complement your lifestyle and commitments today while supporting The Nature Conservancy tomorrow.
Donors choose a bequest because
- It is not payable until death, so it does not affect your assets or cash flow during your lifetime.
- It is revocable – you can change the provisions in your will or trust at any time, and
- It is private – your will is not filed or made public until your death.
Your giving options are increased
- A bequest can deliver a specific gift to The Nature Conservancy ("I bequeath the sum of Ten Thousand [$10,000] Dollars"). Alternately, it can deliver a percentage of the balance remaining in your estate after taxes, expenses and specific bequests have been paid — what's known as the residue ("I bequeath Ten [10%] Percent of the residue of my estate").
- You can designate that a particular program or activity at The Nature Conservancy benefit from your bequest. Or, you can make your bequest unrestricted and allow us to use it for our top conservation priorities when we receive your gift.
Is a bequest deductible?
A bequest from a will or a trust distribution to The Nature Conservancy is fully deductible for federal estate tax purposes, and there is no limit on the deduction your estate can claim. In addition, the gift is usually exempt from state inheritance taxes.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
A will is your instruction manual to survivors about how you want your property distributed. It is a revocable, private document that only takes effect after your death.
A revocable trust is an entity that holds assets during your lifetime, then transfers ownership of them — or benefit from them — upon your death.
There is no difference between wills and trusts in how they make charitable transfers. In some states the probate and distribution process is simpler with a revocable trust. Your advisors can guide you in choosing which vehicle will work better for you.
- The more narrowly you restrict the use of your bequest, the greater the risk that the program you want to benefit today won't be as vital or as relevant when we receive your gift in the future. Please talk with us as you are drafting your will if you want to restrict the use of your bequest.
- Similarly, please let us know in advance if you intend to bequeath real estate, a business interest, or other specialized property to The Nature Conservancy.
- The remaining balance in your retirement plan makes a tax-wise gift to The Nature Conservancy, but don't direct it to us through your will or trust – that will include the plan in your taxable estate. Use your plan's successor beneficiary form, instead.
What if I've already written my will or trust?
You can amend a will or trust to make a gift without rewriting the entire document. Your attorney can prepare a simple document, called a codicil, which adds a new bequest to us while reaffirming the other terms of your will. Similarly, an attorney can prepare an amendment to a revocable trust to add The Nature Conservancy as a beneficiary.