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Make an estate gift

There are several ways to make an estate gift which will help care for the thousands of animals that become homeless or are abused in our community.  The following are brief descriptions of ways of giving and the Animal Humane Society’s policies regarding designating the purpose of a gift.  For more details, including a "build your gift planner" please visit our Estate and Planned Giving Pages.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended to be, or a substitute for, professional legal advice. We recommend you consult with your own professional advisor prior to committing any financial resources.


Bequests are made through your will and may take various forms:

  • Specific bequest — directs a specific dollar gift or property to pass to AHS.
  • Percentage bequest — designates a percentage of the total value of the estate as a gift to AHS.
  • Residual bequest — directs that AHS receive the remainder of the estate, or a portion of the remainder, after all expenses and other bequests have been made.

Sample wording for a bequest of a specific amount:

I hereby give and bequeath to the Animal Humane Society, a nonprofit Minnesota corporation, located at 845 Meadow Lane N, Golden Valley, MN 55422, Tax ID # 41-0693842, the sum of $_______ to be used for its general purposes.

Note:    For a gift other than cash, simply describe the assets.

Sample wording for a bequest of a residual amount:

I hereby give and bequeath to the Animal Humane Society, a nonprofit Minnesota corporation, located at 845 Meadow Lane N, Golden Valley, MN 55422, Tax ID # 41-0693842, all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, after providing for the specific provisions of this will, to be used for its general purposes.

Note:     For a gift of less than 100% of the rest, residue and remainder of the estate, simply delete “all” and state the percentage.

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Charitable gift annuities

An Animal Humane Society charitable gift annuity for one-life (or two) may be established with a minimum of $10,000 and provides lifetime income for the annuitant(s) as well as an immediate tax deduction. A gift annuity can be a good option for donors age 55 and older. If you are interested I would be happy to provide you a proposal with details and current payout rates.

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Charitable remainder trusts

A charitable remainder trust is one of the more complex estate planning options but its many variations offer the donor greater flexibility. CRT’s can be a very good option for persons who own significantly appreciated assets (such as rental property) and desire to receive income for life. The donor transfers the asset to the trust, where it is sold, avoiding capital gains tax.  The proceeds are invested with the donor or other beneficiary receiving payments for life or a set term. At the end of the trust’s life, the remaining principal is gifted to AHS.

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Name AHS as a beneficiary of a life insurance policies

If you have a life insurance policy that is no longer needed to provide for dependants consider making AHS the beneficiary.  This may enable you to make a significant gift to AHS without using any of your estate’s capital.  A further option is to make AHS both the beneficiary and owner of a paid-up policy. Doing so will earn you an immediate tax deduction equal to the policy’s cash value. Contact the policy’s issuing agent for instructions.

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Name AHS as a beneficiary of an IRA or retirement Plan

Some assets such as IRAs, Keogh Plans and other qualified retirement plans do not pass directly through your will and require you to name a beneficiary. Consider making AHS a full or partial beneficiary.  Such plans can be excellent choices for charitable gifting because they are taxed more heavily than other assets – sometimes greater than 60%.  However, by making AHS the beneficiary, the full value of the account will pass to AHS to be used to benefit the animals.

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Name AHS as a beneficiary of a certificate of deposit

An easy option is to visit a bank and buy a CD naming AHS as the beneficiary, payable-on-death.  The CD can remain on deposit earning interest until the donor dies, upon which AHS receives its value.  Make sure the CD is the type that automatically rolls over and maintains the beneficiary designation.

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Make AHS the successor interest of a contract

Perhaps you’re receiving payments from the sale of a business, real estate or are receiving royalties? You may be able to designate AHS as the successor interest to receive any payments that continue after your death.

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Designated and undesignated gifts

Undesignated gifts to the Animal Humane Society are the most desirable donation.  Over time the financial needs of the organization can change dramatically.  Undesignated gifts provide the Board of Directors and staff leadership the most flexibility in using or investing the funds depending on the organization’s strategic plan and needs.

Due to the accounting and audit requirements of establishing and maintaining a designated or restricted endowment, AHS has a policy that these gifts must be $20,000 or more, unless they are designated for the Animal Humane Society’s Endowment Fund. If you plan to designate your gift, please contact me to ensure that the designation is worded in a way that will be usable to AHS well into the future.

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