September 22, 2014

Beneficiary Designations: A Gift to the ASPCA that Costs Nothing Now

It is never too early to use your retirement assets wisely: People of all ages have IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b)s, and yet these assets are often overlooked when considering how to help animals in need. A beneficiary designation on a retirement plan costs nothing now, and at the same time allows you to include the ASPCA in your future charitable giving without having to consult an attorney.

It is also one of the easiest planned gifts to make. Your plan administrator, Human Resources Department, or the financial institution that holds your assets can provide you with the necessary beneficiary designation form to complete. You still retain complete ownership of your account to spend during your later years and any leftover funds will go to the ASPCA.

You can even name multiple beneficiaries: The ASPCA can be a full or partial beneficiary of any portion of those assets. Another option is to name the ASPCA as a contingent beneficiary to inherit those assets should your primary beneficiary not survive you.

Also, naming the ASPCA as a beneficiary of your retirement plan is a great way to save on estate and income taxes. Retirement plan assets that are left to heirs other than a spouse are taxed; however, a charity such as the ASPCA pays no tax. Furthermore, taxes on retirement assets must be paid at death which leaves less money for heirs. Thus, if you plan on making a gift to charity in your estate plan, giving retirement assets tax-free is a great way to maximize the value of your estate for your heirs, while also providing for animals in need.

Other assets that can be used with beneficiary designations are life insurance policies, investment accounts, and bank accounts.

For more information on how you can make a difference for animals in need, please contact the ASPCA’s Office of Gift Planning at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4505 or by email at [email protected]. You can also find more information in the Planned Giving section of our website.