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Planned Giving 101

Photo at Northbrook PropertyPlanned giving is often an overlooked opportunity to make a contribution to Catawba Lands Conservancy. Planned gifts to CLC provide a permanent way to leave a legacy for the region we all love.

What is Planned Giving?
Planned giving is typically done in conjunction with estate planning and is a viable option for donors of all income levels. From a donor’s perspective, planned giving is attractive for many reasons. It may enable you to make larger gifts than you otherwise could out of your current assets. Depending on how a planned gift is set up, it may also provide you with income for life, earn higher investment yield, or reduce your capital gains or estate taxes.
Planned gifts often appeal to people who want to benefit a charitable organization but are not certain how much of their assets they will need for themselves during their lifetimes.

Types of Planned Gifts
Lifetime Gift of Appreciated Securities – CLC holds an account at a licensed brokerage firm, Queens Road Securities, specifically for receiving your gifts of stocks, bonds or mutual funds. This firm will facilitate the prompt donation of your securities into our conservation fund. Many donors choose to give appreciated stocks or mutual funds because they receive a full deduction for their gift to CLC and do not incur capital gains on the holding when it’s liquidated.

Estate Gifts by Will or Trust – Many donors include CLC as a recipient of cash or property under the terms of their Will. Did you know that you could ‘endow’ your lifetime giving level by leaving 20 times your annual gift to our endowment? For example, if you give $1,500 per year, a bequest of $30,000 would provide a similar annual benefit after you are gone. Contemplating a large gift in your estate is easier than large lifetime gifts. Many donors choose to leave a percentage of assets rather than a dollar amount. This way, the size of the gift adjusts accordingly as financial assets increase or decrease in the future.
Gifts by Beneficiary Designation – Similar to gifts by Will, donors often choose to make gifts using their retirement plan assets or life insurance. Because CLC is a charity and pays no income tax, CLC is an ideal recipient of retirement assets. Many donors like this technique because it is very simple to execute compared to revising their entire estate plan.

Donated Land – As your local land trust, CLC is in a unique position to also receive gifts of real estate. Donated land possessing a high conservation value will be protected forever. Other properties may be sold with the funds used to conserve important natural areas and quality lands. For example, Jim Ketner bequeathed 46 acres to CLC. Upon his death in 2004, we sold his land with a conservation easement attached and established the Ketner Fund. CLC has been able to leverage Mr. Ketner’s bequest as a gap funding source to cover transaction fees and other matching requirements for 48 properties that protect 4,737 acres.

Accelerated Planned Gifts – If a donor has a planned gift in their estate plan and they determine that they can afford to do so, many will decide to make the gift during their lifetime. Such a strategy is wise because the donor gets the income tax benefit of the gift, something that does not occur for gifts at death. Furthermore, the donor gets to see the fruits of their gift now rather than imagining the benefit after they are gone. (Of course, if a gift is accelerated, the estate plan will need to be revised in order to avoid duplication.)

“Your values are the most important legacy you can leave,” said CLC Development Director Margaret Brantley. “By making a planned gift, you ensure your impact lives on.”
While we share a common concern for the land, every family’s financial situation is unique and it is important that you check with your personal attorney or financial advisor to find the most suitable gift arrangements. For more information, please contact Margaret at 704-342-3330 (ext. 218) or margaret@catawbalands.org.

(Source: Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers)