by Melanie Brunson
One of the comments we hear fairly frequently in the ACB national office is that people like "The Braille Forum" so much that they "read it from cover to cover as soon as it comes!" I suspect some people do, but I also suspect that for most readers, that statement is almost but not quite true. There is one little sentence that appears in this magazine regularly that I am afraid most of us skip right over, or if some read it, they don't give it much thought. That sentence says, "Consider including a gift to ACB in your Last Will and Testament. If your wishes are complex, call the national office."
Now, don't panic and skip the rest of this article. I promise not to talk about writing wills. What I would like to point out is that making bequests in wills is one small part of what is often referred to as "planned giving." Planned giving involves planning to donate to charity at some time in the future, and then actually putting those plans in writing with the person or institution that you want to carry them out for you at the appropriate time. ACB has begun an effort to encourage more people to consider planned giving and to make ACB the recipient of their planned gifts. We hope that as some of you consider implementing new year's resolutions that involve putting your financial affairs in better order, you will consider ways in which you might help ACB at the same time. Below is some explanatory information taken from a new brochure that ACB can make available to you upon request.
There are many ways to make a charitable contribution.
Gifts of Cash
Cash contributions are a quick and easy way to show your support of the services provided by ACB. Simply write a check or make a cash donation through our web site. If your employer has a matching gifts program, you could double or even triple your donation to ACB.
By leaving a bequest to ACB in your will, you will make a lasting contribution to help people who are blind to achieve independence and dignity. You can designate a specific amount, a percentage of your total estate, or a share of the residue after gifts to your heirs.
Gifts Through Living Trusts
If you choose to establish a living trust instead of a will, you can provide for yourself and your family before and after your death. As in a will, you can arrange a contribution through a living trust by naming ACB as a beneficiary.
Gifts of Real Estate
Your charitable contribution of real estate – a personal residence, vacation home, commercial real estate or vacant land – is a tax-wise gift that has income and capital gains tax advantages. By choosing an option called "Retained Life Estate," you can give your personal residence to ACB and still maintain lifetime use of the property.
Gifts of Life Insurance
When your life insurance was originally purchased, you certainly had a need for its benefits. However, if you no longer have that need, consider contributing your existing life insurance policy to ACB. You can simply name ACB as its owner and beneficiary, either in whole or in part. Also, if you are a donor committed to making annual gifts, you can direct a portion of your annual gift to an insurance policy, guaranteeing the continuation of that gift in perpetuity.
Gifts of Retirement Plans
You can name ACB as beneficiary of your pension, 401(k), IRA or other retirement plan. This gift could be the most cost-effective that you can make, because you avoid the possible double taxation on retirement plan assets left to your heirs.
Gifts of Securities
Contributions of stock or other securities are a welcome gift at ACB. If you contribute appreciated securities that you have held for one year or more, there are potential capital gains benefits. For transfer options, please call our Minnesota office at (612) 332-3242, or 1-800-866-3242.
Other giving options include the following: charitable gift annuities; charitable lead trusts; and charitable remainder trusts.
If you are interested in learning more about which of these options is best for you, the first thing to do is contact your financial or tax advisor. He or she can provide you with additional information on how your participation in the above programs may affect your personal tax situation. Then, if you have questions about how you can most benefit ACB, please feel free to contact either me or Lane Waters. You can reach me at the Arlington office, and you can reach Lane in the Minnesota office. Either of us would be happy to assist you, and we thank you in advance for the assistance you will provide to ACB for years to come.