Wildlife Legacy Society


Retirement Plan Gifts

Free Tracks You Leave Behind VideoAnother way to make a meaningful gift for Defenders of Wildlife is through your retirement plan. Like life insurance, IRAs and other qualified retirement plan assets can be an important part of your estate planning, but do not pass through your will. It is important to give careful thought to how these assets will ultimately be distributed. As a matter of fact, due to increased allowable contributions under the 2001 tax law and favorable new rules regarding required distributions, you may accumulate considerably more in your retirement plans for ultimate distribution to individuals and/or charities of your choice.

You may name Defenders a beneficiary of an IRA or other "account type" retirement plan (e.g, 401(k), 403(b) or profit sharing plan). Defenders can be the sole beneficiary, a beneficiary of a percentage of the plan assets, or the contingent beneficiary in case you are predeceased by a loved one.

Jaguar for Donate Now Home page When choosing assets to leave to charitable organizations, many advisors suggest retirement plan assets. The reason is that traditional IRAs and qualified retirement plans, if left to heirs, are taxed more heavily than other assets in your estate. Like other assets in your estate, they are subject to estate tax if left to beneficiaries other than your spouse. But unlike most other assets, traditional IRAs and other qualified retirement plans are also subject to income tax as distributions are made to your beneficiaries. Both estate tax and income tax are completely avoided if Defenders is named as beneficiary, enabling us to put 100% of plan assets to work for wildlife protection.

To include Defenders as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, all you have to do is fill out a "Change of Beneficiary" form with your plan provider. You will need the following information for the form:

Defenders of Wildlife
Gift Planning Department
1130 17th Street, NW 
Washington, D.C. 20036
Telephone: 202-682-9400
Tax ID #53-0183181

Lynx If you want to provide income to a surviving loved one, you can also arrange to fund a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity with assets remaining in an IRA or qualified retirement plan at the time of your demise. You will receive an estate tax deduction for the entire value if the arrangement is established just for your spouse and for part of the value if one or more others are named as beneficiaries. No income tax will be payable when the IRA or qualified retirement plan is distributed after your lifetime to the charitable remainder trust or to Defenders of Wildlife for the gift annuity. Defenders would receive use of the principal remaining in either arrangement after the lifetime(s) of the beneficiary(ies) or term of the trush.

Defenders has established the Wildlife Legacy Society to honor the special group of members who have made provisions for Defenders of Wildlife in their estate plans or other gift plan. 

If you would like more information, please call us toll-free at 1-800-915-6789, send email to legacy@defenders.org or write to us at:

Defenders of Wildlife
Gift Planning Department
1130 17th Street, NW 
Washington, D.C. 20036

Defenders of Wildlife is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. Please notify your attorney or other professional advisor for advice or assistance in specific cases.