Although 72% of Americans give to charity during their lifetime, only 6% leave anything to charity through their wills. Those are startling statistics given the ease and benefits of making charitable gifts through wills.
If you already have a will, modern word processing allows your attorney to easily add a sentence directing a bequest to the charity of your choice. For example: “I give and bequeath the sum of fifty thousand ($50,000.00) dollars to the Humane League of Lancaster County”. The small cost involved in making such a change is far outweighed by the knowledge you have left a legacy for a worthy cause.
If you do not have a will, and are in the process of writing one, the inclusion of bequests to charities would not normally entail any additional legal costs.
In addition to leaving a lasting legacy your charitable bequest has the benefit of avoiding both Federal Estate Tax and Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax. Even with the reduction in Federal Estate Tax rates the top rate will still be as high as 45% through 2009 (the Estate Tax is “repealed” in 2010, but then gets “unrepealed” in 2011 unless Congress legislates otherwise). Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax can be as high as 15%. Therefore, up to 60% may be lost to taxes.
With a little effort you can leave a legacy through your will that will help generations to come, and have positive tax results. BUT YOU DO NEED TO MAKE THAT EFFORT. Contact your attorney, describe what you want to do, and then do it. The satisfaction you gain will far exceed the effort.
The Maud Haldeman Society:
Preserving the Humane League for Generations to Come
Throughout its history, the Humane League has been generously supported by the residents and businesses of Lancaster County. One important way that our donors support the Humane League is through a bequest.
Every year, many of our supporters make charitable gifts by naming the Humane League of Lancaster County as a beneficiary in their wills. The federal government encourages these gifts or bequests by allowing an unlimited estate tax charitable deduction.
There are three types of bequests – specific bequest, residual bequest, and contingent bequest. A specific bequest allows you to designate a specific dollar amount, specific percentage, or specific property to the Humane League of Lancaster County.
A residual bequest allows you to designate the Humane League of Lancaster County as a bequest only after your estate pays all debts, taxes, expenses, and specific bequests. The remaining amount – the residual – will be transferred to the Humane League of Lancaster County.
A contingent bequest allows you to ask that the Humane League receive all or a portion of your estate only under certain circumstances. For example, you can name the Humane League of Lancaster County as a beneficiary of your estate only if there are no surviving close family members. Childless couples sometimes provide for the entire estate to go to the surviving spouse, or if the spouse does not survive, to the Humane League of Lancaster County.
As a way of thanking our planned gift donors and for acknowledging their commitment to support the Humane League, we have created the Haldeman Society, named in honor of our founder Maud Haldeman.
If you have already made a plan to give to the Humane League of Lancaster County in your will or estate plan, please contact the Humane League at (717)393-6551 ext. 239 so we may honor you with membership in the Haldeman Society. We realize that with your special gift, you consider us to be part of your family, and we want to do our best to keep you informed as to how your gift will be used and to give you the opportunity to tell us of your wishes.