Please consider SEJ in your estate planning.
Planned gifts significantly enhance SEJ’s ability to continue connecting and educating environmental journalists into the future. Your gift to SEJ may be designated as an unrestricted or a restricted planned gift. By making a planned gift, you will help ensure that generations to come will have access to unbiased, thoroughly investigated journalism on environmental topics. While you're securing the future of SEJ, you will also be saving on taxes, increasing your income, and passing on more resources to your heirs depending on the type of gift you choose. Gifts may be made through bequests, deferred or planned giving, securities, or cash. A charitable bequest can be made during your lifetime or at the time of death.
The easiest and most common method of charitable planned giving is by means of a bequest in your will. However, implementing some or all of your charitable planning during your lifetime can offer some advantages.
Be sure to consult your attorney or tax advisor before implementing any of these. You may also contact SEJ Co-Executive Directors Beth Parke or Chris Bruggers with any questions or to get the name of an investment advisor.
A will is the legal expression of your wishes for the disposition of your property to take effect at death. Beneficiaries (the heirs who receive the bequests) are the individuals and organizations especially important to you. Whether for the entire estate, or any portion of the estate, a fixed amount or a percentage of total assets, bequests are easy to make.
Implementing some or all of your charitable planning during your lifetime can offer some advantages. Whether you give it away now while you are alive or later under your estate plan, there will be no gift or estate tax on the value of property transferred to charity. But there will be a considerable income tax difference; namely, you will be entitled to an income tax deduction for charitable gifts only if the gift is made during your lifetime.
Annuities and Trusts
With a charitable gift annuity, a sum of money or certain other property is given to SEJ in return for fixed annual payments for you (and your spouse, if you wish). Gift annuities are especially attractive for older people, since payments are larger for those at older ages. If you have securities that have increased in value, consider using them to fund a charitable gift annuity. The capital gains taxes which would be due if the property were sold can be deferred, or partially avoided, provided you have owned the property long enough for it to qualify as long-term property. An income tax deduction is allowed in the year the gift is made. It is based on the age(s) of the person(s) receiving the income, the frequency of payments, and other factors.
You can make a gift today and retain annual income for the remainder of your life or another period of time you choose through the use of charitable remainder trusts and other similar gift plans. These plans also yield an income tax deduction in the year the gift is completed. They may be used effectively in planning for retirement, caring for the elderly, or providing funds for educational expenses for children, grandchildren, or other loved ones.
Types of annuities and trusts:
Charitable Gift Annuity
You give money to a charity, and in return the charity pays you an annuity for life.
Charitable Remainder Trust
You contribute assets to an irrevocable trust and retain an income stream either for a specific number of years (up to 20) or for a lifetime. At the end, the assets go to a charity that you name. (The charity may be a private foundation.)
Charitable Lead Trust
You contribute assets to an irrevocable trust. For a term of years, the trust pays an annual amount to a charity you name. At the end, the remaining assets go to your family.
Other types of lifetime giving:
…Gift of stock or other securities
Giving stock to a charitable organization is a wonderful way to expand the amount you can afford to donate. If you have owned the stock for more than a year, you get a tax deduction for the gift, and you avoid paying any capital gains tax on the increase in value of the stock. When you donate property, you can deduct the "fair market value," which is the average of the highest and lowest trading price for the stock on the day you make the transfer.
…Gift of retirement plan assets
Retirement plan assets are an excellent choice to fund a charitable gift to SEJ upon your death. If you leave your traditional IRA, 401k, 403b or other qualified retirement plan assets to anyone other than your spouse, the individual beneficiary will have to pay income tax on the funds received. In some instances, if the estate is subject to estate tax, the combination of income tax and estate tax can amount to over 70% of the decedent's retirement account. By making SEJ the beneficiary of your retirement plan, the full amount of your retirement assets will benefit SEJ.
…Gift of life insurance
A gift of life insurance can provide a significant charitable deduction. You could purchase a new policy or donate a policy that you currently own but no longer need. To receive a deduction, designate SEJ as both the owner and beneficiary of the life insurance policy. Consult with your insurance agent for the details.