Ways to Make a Planned Gift

Life Income Gift

Life Income Gifts offer a range of estate planning options. When you arrange a Life Income gift to Bay Area Legal Services, you can receive an immediate income tax deduction based on the calculated present value of the future gift, and Bay Area Legal Services likewise receives an immediate benefit. A Life Income gift allows you to give an asset to Bay Area Legal yet retain use of the asset during your lifetime. These split-interest gifts are specifically approved in the US Tax Code.

NOTE: These gifts are irrevocable. You should consult with a tax and legal advisor before making a life income gift.

There are four general types of Life Income gifts:

Gift Annuity

A Charitable Gift Annuity is a contract between a donor and the charity. In exchange for your gift of cash or marketable securities to Bay Area Legal Services, we agree to pay you a fixed amount annually for your lifetime. The transfer is part gift and part purchase of an annuity. The rate of return is competitive and the payments are guaranteed for life. (Bay Area Legal uses the charitable gift annuity rates recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities.)

Charitable Gift annuities can include joint and survivor annuities, and can be arranged to make payments for the lifetime of two people. You may defer your annuity payments, and Bay Area Legal will begin paying your annuity starting on the date you specify. You will receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift, and Bay Area Legal will have an immediate benefit from the receipt of your gift.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A trust is a legal agreement that specifies how the assets in the trust will be managed. When you establish a Charitable Remainder Trust, you will place assets in the trust and will receive periodic payments for your lifetime. The assets then pass to Bay Area Legal upon your death. You will receive an immediate tax deduction for a portion of the gift when the trust is funded.

There are two types of charitable remainder trusts: the unitrust and the annuity trust. With a unitrust, the income received fluctuates annually with the fair market value of the trust. With an annuity trust, the income payments are fixed and determined when the gift is made. Charitable remainder trusts require a trustee, who manages the trust and ensures that distributions and tax filings are made.

Pooled Income Fund

You may participate in a commercial Pooled Income Fund and name Bay Area Legal as the charitable beneficiary. With a Pooled Income Fund, you will contribute to the pooled investment account and receive a pro rata share of the income each year. Upon your death, your share passes to Bay Area Legal Services. You will receive an immediate partial tax deduction when a contribution is made to the Pooled Income Fund.

Remainder Interest

You may transfer the ownership of real estate to Bay Area Legal Services and retain a life estate. When the gift is made, you will receive an immediate income tax deduction for the calculated remainder value of the donated property. You would continue to pay for the insurance, taxes, upkeep, and other expenses. Note: this type of gift should not be used if you wish to maintain the ability to mortgage or sell the property.

Bequest by Will or Living Trust

You may make a charitable gift by naming Bay Area Legal Services as a beneficiary in your will or living trust. The federal government encourages charitable bequests by allowing you to take an unlimited estate tax charitable deduction. In addition, a charitable bequest may place your estate in a lower estate tax bracket.

There are three ways you can make a bequest:

Specific Bequest

You designate a specific dollar amount, specific percentage, or specific property to Bay Area Legal Services. Sample language:

Specific Dollar Amount

“I bequeath the sum of $_________ to Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., 1302 N. 19th Street, Suite 400, Tampa, FL 33605, to be used or disposed of for the benefit of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.”

Real Estate

“I devise all of my right, title, and interest in and to the real estate located at <ADDRESS/DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY> to Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., 1302 N. 19th Street, Suite 400, Tampa, FL 33605, to be used or disposed of for the benefit of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.”

Specific Personal Property

“I bequeath <DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY> to Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., 1302 N. 19th Street, Suite 400, Tampa, FL 33605, to be used or disposed of for the benefit of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.”

Residual Bequest

Your estate will pay all debts, taxes, expenses, and specific bequests. The remaining amount, the residual, will be transferred to Bay Area Legal Services. Sample language:

“I devise and bequeath (all/or ___%) of the remainder of my property to Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., 1302 N. 19th Street, Suite 400, Tampa, FL 33605, to be used or disposed of for the benefit of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.”

Contingent Bequest

You can ask that Bay Area Legal Services receive all or a portion of your estate only under certain circumstances. For example, you can name Bay Area Legal Services as a beneficiary of your estate only if another beneficiary predeceases you. For example:

“If my husband/wife does not survive me, I bequeath the sum of $____ to Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., 1302 N. 19th Street, Suite 400, Tampa, FL 33605, to be used or disposed of for the benefit of Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.”

Beneficiary Designation

You can support Bay Area Legal Services through a beneficiary designation. The life insurance policy (or a portion of it) that you purchased years ago may no longer be needed. You may want to use your investment account during your lifetime and donate the remaining balance without going through probate. Consider naming Bay Area Legal Services as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, a deferred annuity, an IRA, a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k), a bank account, or an investment account. The designations are revocable until your death.

These gifts are easy to arrange and in many cases, you may designate a specific amount or percentage. Simply obtain a beneficiary designation form from your insurance or financial services company. If you are using a group life insurance policy, request the form from your benefits office.

Once you have the form, list your beneficiaries according to your wishes. Your death benefits will go to your primary beneficiaries, according to the percentage you assign. You may also list secondary beneficiaries, who will receive the death benefits only if there are no surviving primary beneficiaries.

Another simple way to donate to Bay Area Legal Services - while skipping probate - is by designating an account with an investment firm, a bank, or a credit union to pay Bay Area Legal Services upon your death. With an investment account, the designation is usually “Transfer on Death” (e.g., Your Name TOD Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.). On an account with a bank or credit union, you would use the designation “Payable on Death” or “In Trust For.” Under these arrangements, you retain full control of your account during your lifetime, and through the lifetime of all other account owners. Upon the death of the last account owner, the remaining assets pass to the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) without going through probate.

Ask your banker or stockbroker for the forms to change the title on your account and designate Bay Area Legal Services as a beneficiary.

If you have questions about making a donation to Bay Area Legal Services through planned giving, contact our Development office at 813.232.1222, ext. 156 or development@bals.org.

Bay Area Legal Services makes no claims regarding the accuracy of the above information or the tax consequences if you rely on it. Please consult with your tax, legal, or financial planning advisor.

Still have questions?

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

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