Learn More about Bequests

Gift Details

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.

Let us know if you have chosen to leave a bequest to The Nature Conservancy.

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").


If you choose to include the Conservancy in your will or revocable living trust, there are several ways to control how your estate is distributed:

  • Specific Bequest: A description of what you want to leave to an individual or organization, whether that is a specific dollar amount or a particular asset. Beware of disposing of the asset prior to your death, which will result in an unfulfilled bequest.
  • Residuary Bequest: Leaving all or a percentage of what’s left in your estate after specific bequests, debts, expenses and taxes have been paid.
  • Contingent Bequest: A contingent bequest is fulfilled only if certain conditions are met. For instance, if your primary beneficiary does not survive you, you may indicate your next choice through a contingent designation. It is always a good idea to name one or more contingent beneficiaries of your estate.
  • Codicil or Amendment: A codicil is prepared by your attorney to modify, explain, change or otherwise qualify terms in your will. If you have a revocable living trust, your attorney can prepare an amendment for you to sign that will serve the same function.

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.

Types of Beneficiary Designations

You may also choose to name the Conservancy as the beneficiary of a variety of assets, including insurance policies, retirement funds (IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, commercial annuities, pension or profit-sharing plans) and financial accounts (bank accounts, CDs, savings bonds, brokerage accounts, stock portfolios). Because many of these assets may be subject to income and estate taxes when left to heirs, leaving them to the Conservancy can be a low-cost, simple and tax- efficient way to support our mission.

  • Primary Beneficiary: You may name the Conservancy as the primary beneficiary of a percentage or the entire amount of your plan or policy.
  • Contingent/Secondary Beneficiary: You may name the Conservancy as a contingent beneficiary of all or a portion of your plan or policy. For example, you may name family members or friends as the primary beneficiaries, and then name the Conservancy to receive assets if the named individuals do not survive you.

Benefits to you
  • Retain control of your assets during your lifetime
  • Modify your gift if circumstances change
  • Create a lasting gift to conservation
  • May provide estate tax savings or avoid tax burden for heirs
  • Qualify for Legacy Club membership

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.

Interested in naming The Nature Conservancy as a beneficiary of your will or trust? Find the legal language and tax ID here.

Planning points
  1. 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.
  2. 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. Contact us!
  3. 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.

Find our Legal language and Tax ID here

Use of your gift
  • At the Conservancy, unrestricted charitable gifts are used to support top conservation priorities worldwide.
  • You may also designate your gift to a specific area or program (such as your state) that you wish to support. If you want to designate your gift, please contact us to ensure your wishes can be met.
  • Whether you choose to restrict your gift or not, your support will conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends.

Information that may interest you ...

Let us know your plans! If you have left the Conservancy in your estate plans we would like to thank you and welcome you to The Legacy Club.

Find out how to name us in your will.

Explore different types of bequests.

You can protect migratory birds and other natural places by making a planned gift with The Nature Conservancy. Contact us today.


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