Gifts that Cost You Nothing Now


Gifts that Cost You Nothing Now

There are a variety of ways to create your legacy of conservation and activism for our precious natural world and to make Sierra Club part of your legacy forever.

Once your loved ones are provided for, consider a gift in your will or trust or by beneficiary designation. These gifts cost you nothing now. You can change your beneficiaries at any time. And you make a powerful statement about preserving our environment that will last for years to come.

Please let us know if you’ve included a gift for Sierra Club in your will or trust or by beneficiary designation. Providing us with documentation is the best way to ensure that your wishes are honored.

Gifts in a Will

A gift in your will or trust is one of the easiest and most popular ways to be a champion for the environment. It takes just a few sentences in your will to set up a gift. This is how to ensure that our precious wild places will be here for future generations to explore and enjoy the natural world as much as you do.

With a gift in your will or trust:

  • You retain control of the assets making up your gift.
  • You can change your gift at any time and for any reason.
  • You can direct your gift to be used for a specific purpose (be sure to check with us to make sure your gift can be used as intended).
  • You have no upper limit, under current law, on the estate tax deduction for your charitable gift in your will for Sierra Club Foundation.

Here are the most popular ways to leave a gift in your will:

A general bequest leaves Sierra Club a gift of a stated sum of money in your will or trust, typically personal property or assets.

A residuary bequest leaves a gift to Sierra Club of a percentage of the “rest, residue and remainder” of your estate after other bequests, debts and taxes have been paid.

A specific bequest leaves Sierra Club a specific dollar amount or stated fraction of your estate or a specified gift of property.

A contingent bequest leaves Sierra Club with a stated share of your estate, only if a spouse, partner, family member or other beneficiary does not survive you.

View Sample Gift Language

If you have questions or would like additional information, please get in touch with Lori Sullivan, Director of Gift Planning, at giftplanning@sierraclub.org or at 800-932-4270.

Gifts by Beneficiary Designation

You can name Sierra Club as a beneficiary of retirement accounts, life insurance plans, CDs, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and other assets. This is one of the easiest gifts to give. It costs you nothing now. It doesn’t require an estate plan or a lawyer. And you can change your beneficiaries at any time. You simply contact the firm that holds your assets and ask them for a beneficiary form to fill out. Forms are often available online.

Please let us know if you have named Sierra Club as a beneficiary so we can thank you for your generosity and show you the impact your gift will have.

Retirement Plan: Retirement assets, including 401(k)s and IRAs, are among the most heavily taxed, making them an ideal opportunity for charitable giving once you no longer need the assets. As the charitable affiliate of Sierra Club, Sierra Club Foundation is exempt from paying the taxes that otherwise might be owed. Consider making Sierra Club Foundation a beneficiary of your retirement assets while leaving other less-heavily taxed assets to loved ones.

With a retirement plan gift:

  • You continue to take regular lifetime withdrawals.
  • You maintain flexibility to change beneficiaries at any time and for any reason.
  • You avoid the potential double taxation on assets left in your retirement account.

Income taxes to your loved ones can be as high as 35 percent, but naming Sierra Club Foundation as a beneficiary of your retirement assets generates no income taxes. Sierra Club Foundation is tax exempt and eligible to receive the full amount, bypassing any income taxes.

Life Insurance Gift: Life insurance is an affordable way to leave a gift for Sierra Club while you receive tax savings benefits during your lifetime.

With a life insurance gift:

  • A significant gift from disposable income at a fraction of the value.
  • Tax saving can be immediately realized.
  • Your donation could reduce final taxes of your estate.
  • Insurance gifts transfer outside the estate.

CDs, Bank and Brokerage Accounts: One of the easiest ways you can help preserve wild places is by making Sierra Club the beneficiary of a certificate of deposit, a checking or savings bank account, or brokerage account. Simply request a Pay on Death (POD) or Transfer on Death (TOD) designation form from your financial institution.

Donor Advised Fund Residuals: Final distribution of contributions remaining in a Donor Advised Fund is governed by the contract you completed when you created your fund. We hope you consider naming Sierra Club as a beneficiary of your account. Or, you can name us the beneficiary a portion of the account value, leaving the remaining portion for your heirs to continue your environmental legacy.

View Sample Beneficiary Designation Language

If you have questions or would like additional information, please get in touch with Lori Sullivan, Director of Gift Planning, at giftplanning@sierraclub.org or at 800-932-4270. I would be happy to work with you to meet your personal and philanthropic objectives.