ESTATE Planning

Leaving a legacy for the trails you love can be a natural part of your estate plans. Plan now to take advantage of tax-saving ways to leave a gift from your estate, which will augment the TRAILS FOREVER FUND.

A legacy giving arrangement is not difficult to set up. Your accountant, banker, investment adviser or insurance agent will tell you that any responsible adult should have, at a minimum: a will, a power of attorney, and a medical directive.

By spending 2 or 3 hours of your time, and a few hundred dollars, you can control where your assets will go, who will administer your estate, and with a few simple provisions reduce or eliminate your estate’s exposure to taxes (estate taxes, gift taxes, and some forms of income taxes.)

While you are at it, it would be very easy to include a charitable bequest to BCHA. Such a bequest, such as $5,000 or $10,000, would hardly be missed when your estate is administered, but it would make a world of difference to BCHA.

If you already have estate planning documents in place, congratulations!

But remember that estate planning is not an event; it is a process. It is important to review your plan with your attorney every 4 or 5 years, to be sure that the plan continues to meet your needs. Births, deaths, marriages, divorces and adoptions are just a few of the events that can trigger a need for plan revisions. Powers of Attorney should be redone every ten years at a minimum. During a plan update is a perfect time to set up a gift to BCHA upon your demise. This can be done with a will or with a living trust.

Other Ways To Give To BCHA Through Your Estate

It is also very easy to make gifts in other ways. You can authorize your agent under a power of attorney to make lifetime gifts, at whatever times and in whatever amounts make sense to you. Below are some examples.


You can name BCHA as a beneficiary as to a share of a life insurance policy. For high net worth individuals with significant exposure to estate taxes, a charitable gift annuity may make sense. A charitable gift annuity can provide an income stream during life for the charity, and an income tax deduction for you at the same time.


One of the most powerful gifting techniques is to give part or all of an IRA account to a charity, or name the charity as a death beneficiary of an IRA.


Discuss your interest in providing a donation to BCHA in your estate plans with your attorney, accountant, investment advisor or banker.  Each individual’s financial situation varies, so your advisors will help you decide the best way to leave a legacy for BCHA:  Directly out of your estate, through an IRA, or from an Insurance policy.

An individual retirement account (IRA) is funded with pre-tax dollars.  Every dollar withdrawn by the owner or his beneficiary is taxed when it comes out, and there is an additional penalty for early withdrawals.  After age 70 ½, the owner is forced to start taking mandatory minimum distributions, and to pay income taxes thereon.

In large estates, where the value of an IRA is included in the estate tax calculation, as much as half the account can be consumed by estate and income taxes.  What was intended to be an Individual Retirement Account becomes an “Internal Revenue Account”.

All those restrictions, however, go out the window when you give IRA assets to a 501C(3) charity such as BCHA.  The charity gets every dollar, tax-free.

If there are questions or information that you need from BCHA to complete this step, please contact the BCHA office.