What is a charitable bequest? A charitable bequest is a gift left to charity when someone passes away. A bequest is one of the easiest ways to leave a legacy and support the causes you care about. You can leave a bequest by making a promise in your will, living trust, or codicil. Certain assets, such as an insurance policy, retirement account, or bank account, can be left by way of a beneficiary designation. With a bequest or beneficiary gift, the asset is transferred to charity once the donor passes away. You can review this example from the IRS for more context.

What is a charitable bequest? This infographic shows how it works.

Benefits of a Charitable Bequest

  • Flexible: you can leave a bequest of a specific dollar amount, a percentage, of your estate, or even a specific asset, such as a retirement account
  • Tax-Saving: if your estate will be subject to estate taxes, a charitable bequest will reduce the amount of tax due, including by generating a charitable estate tax deduction.
  • Strategic: bequests can help you establish priorities. You could name a loved one as a primary beneficiary, but if that person is no longer living, your estate plan could leave the asset to a charitable organization as a contingent beneficiary.
  • Empowering: with a bequest, you retain full ownership and control of your assets during life – you can use your assets as you see fit and can even sell the asset if you need to.

You want to make a gift to a charity but are looking for a way to give that provides you with flexibility if your needs change.The right solution could be a charitable bequest. You can establish a gift in your estate plan today while preserving your savings for tomorrow.With a bequest, you can support the causes you care about while saving on potential estate taxes and retaining assets to meet your future needs.

Make a Plan

Learn more about planned giving and how you can support progress in medicine for years to come.