The Charitable Bequest

What is a Charitable Bequest?

A charitable bequest is a gift traditionally made through a will that enables you to make a significant contribution to the quality of the places served by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation and its family of community and component funds.

Today charitable bequests can also be made through a living trust or a beneficiary designation on a financial account. Almost anyone can afford to a make a charitable bequest and provide for loved ones—you can be a philanthropist. Plus, a charitable bequest costs you nothing to make today because you retain full control of your assets during life.

A Future Gift for Northwest Minnesota--That Costs You Nothing to Make Today

Planning a charitable bequest is one component of an overall financial, tax, and estate planning process.

The process begins by asking: What will I do with what I’ve built during my life? It’s an important question. Without thoughtful planning, your ‘nest egg’ could be squandered through taxes, probate costs, and distributions to unintended beneficiaries. While you may not think of yourself as having an ‘estate,’ you do—and almost everyone needs an estate plan.

While it is tempting to procrastinate, the planning process is quick and easy for most people, and charitable bequests usually take one of two forms:

  • Easiest: Name Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) or funds in our family of component or community funds, as a Beneficiary of Your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), Qualified Retirement Plan, or other Financial Account. 
Simply request a beneficiary designation form from your plan administrator, and include NMF or a fund as a sole or partial beneficiary (based on a percentage of the value) of the plan or account. Or name NMF as a contingent beneficiary to be paid only if other beneficiaries are no longer alive. Since IRAs and qualified retirement plans are reduced by income taxes when passed to loved ones other than a spouse, by naming NMF (or our funds) as a beneficiary, you can eliminate some or all of the income taxes due.

In fact, leaving other resources (such as appreciated stock, life insurance, or the family home) to loved ones often results in a greater gift to them than passing on a taxable retirement account.

  • Easy: Include Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) or funds from our family of component and community funds as a Beneficiary of Your Will or Living Trust. If you don’t have a will and/or living trust, now is the time to complete that important task. 

Our development officers can also work with you and your attorney to draft special bequest wording if you have specific ideas about how your future gift should be used at NMF. If you already have a will or living trust, it is easy to add a short paragraph, called a ‘codicil,’ to your existing document—and our staff can help.

Planning Ideas

Thoughtful planning ensures that you minimize taxes, provide the right benefit to the right beneficiary, and pass on your life’s work—in terms of both finances and values—to the people and programs that you most care about. As you plan, keep these ideas in mind:

Structure Your Future Gift

Charitable bequests can be structured in several ways. You can give a specific dollar amount or a percentage of your estate. A percentage is usually a better approach since it is difficult to know the ultimate size of your estate.

Charitable bequests cost nothing during life, but they can change the lives of future residents and visitors to the Northwest Minnesota region, making a difference in a world we can now only imagine.


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