You would like to help build and strengthen PCRM and its ability to influence change, but feel you cannot make a major gift today. Your solution may be a charitable bequest. A bequest in your will or revocable trust is an excellent way to advance PCRM’s work to help animals and people tomorrow.
A bequest is the most popular form of planned gift. Many PCRM members choose a bequest because:
- it does not affect assets or cash flow during your lifetime;
- it is revocable —you can change the provisions in your will or trust at any time; and
- it is private—your will is not filed or made public until your death.
A bequest also provides many giving options. For example, a bequest can deliver a specific gift to PCRM (“I bequeath the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars [$10,000]”). Alternatively, it can deliver a percentage of the balance remaining in your estate after taxes, expenses, and specific bequests have been paid—what’s known as the residue (“I bequeath Ten Percent [10%] of the residue of my estate”).
A bequest from a will or a trust distribution to PCRM is fully deductible for federal estate tax purposes, and there is no limit on the deduction your estate can claim. In addition, the gift is usually exempt from state inheritance taxes.
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
A will is a document containing your instructions about how you want your property and assets distributed. It is a revocable, private document that only takes effect after your death. Anyone with assets (a home, land, bank account, artwork, etc.) should consider creating a will—it’s never too early (there is no minimum age!) and can be a simple process.
A revocable trust is an entity that holds assets during your lifetime, then transfers ownership of them—or benefit from them—upon your death.
There is no difference between wills and trusts in how they make charitable transfers. In some states, the probate and distribution process is simpler with a revocable trust. Your advisers can guide you in choosing which vehicle will work better for you.
Unrestricted gifts allow PCRM to use funds where they are most needed. If you have a special program or interest that you’d like to support with a bequest, we can provide you with wording to ensure your wishes are carried out with maximum impact while helping PCRM continue to move its mission forward. Please talk with us as you are drafting your will if you want to restrict the use of your bequest.
Also, it’s helpful for us to know in advance if you intend to bequeath real estate, a business interest, or other specialized property to PCRM.
What if I’ve already written my will or trust?
You can amend a will or trust to make a charitable gift without rewriting the entire document. Your attorney can prepare a simple document, called a codicil, which adds a new bequest to PCRM while reaffirming the other terms of your will. Similarly, an attorney can prepare an amendment to a revocable trust to add PCRM as a beneficiary.
Members who have remembered PCRM in their wills or trusts have provided vital support for our research and advocacy efforts. Taking this step can ensure that your assets will support a compassionate cause long into the future. If you have questions about making a bequest to PCRM or to request a copy of our planned giving brochure, please contact me at 202-686-2210, ext. 366, or bwason@PCRMFoundation.org. You can also fill out and return the form on this page or visit PCRM.PlanYourLegacy.org.
Betsy Wason, C.F.R.E.
Director of Development