Bequests and Retirement Gifts

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Leave Your Mark: Building a Lasting Legacy Through Giving

In Scouting, we’re all about building tomorrow’s leaders, fostering values of integrity, teamwork, and service that will guide our Scouts for a lifetime. And we couldn’t do it without champions like you—individuals who understand the power of investing in young people and believe in the transformative impact of our mission.

Have you ever considered including Scouting in your will or estate plans? Planned giving is a meaningful way to ensure that your values and passion for Scouting live on, benefiting countless young people for years to come.

To establish your Scouting legacy you can make a charitable bequest in your will, make a gift of an IRA or a life insurance policy. Estate planning with these vehicles reduces the tax liability for your heirs.  In addition, your final gift to Scouting also cements your Scouting legacy within your family ensuring your descendants know the important role Scouting should still continue to play in their lives.

Wills and Bequests

A bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. With the help of an advisor, you simply include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to Boy Scouts of America as part of your estate plan.  You can establish your legacy, and it remains revocable at any time during your life. For donors with taxable estates, charitable bequests are completely tax deductible when distributed. There are many types of bequests you can consider, including:

  1. General—A designated amount of money, such as “$10,000.”
  2. Specific—A certain item, such as “my 100 shares of IBM stock,” “my home at 123 Main Street,” “my original Norman Rockwell painting,” etc.
  3. Percentage—A designated percentage of your estate, such as “10 percent.” This helps protect against inflation, reducing the value of your bequest.
  4. Residuary—Gives Scouting all or a percentage of anything left after all general and specific bequests are satisfied.
  5. Contingent Bequest—Only takes effect if another bequest fails, such as “If my father should predecease me, then this should go to the XYZ Council, BSA.”

Many donors establish “testamentary” charitable trusts in their wills. These are just like the “regular” annuity trusts or unitrusts—the only difference is they are funded or created in your will. Also, for donors who use living trusts, Scouting and other charities can easily be included in those.

Sample Bequest Language


If you already have a will and want to make some simple changes, you can do so with a codicil. A codicil is a simple addition or amendment to an existing will. As with wills, codicils involve certain signing formalities and can be revoked or changed during your lifetime. But no matter what your charitable plans, make sure you have a valid will and regularly review it so it meets the changing needs of you and your family.

Sample Codicil Text

IRA and Retirement Plans

Retirement fund assets can be one of the most significant assets left in an estate. Unfortunately, the gift of an IRA to a child or grandchild—or anyone other than a spouse or charity—can be one of the costliest gifts of all. Retirement funds given to children or grandchildren can be double taxed, or worse, leaving only a fraction for your intended beneficiaries.


Name Scouting and other charities as a survivor beneficiary | Many donors find gifts of IRA assets to charity to be an effective, taxwise way to give.  Naming your local council as an alternate or contingent beneficiary of your retirement accounts is as simple as requesting a change-of-beneficiary form from your plan administrator. IRAs and other retirement accounts may also be used to fund a testamentary charitable trust.

Life Insurance

Do you have insurance policies no longer needed for their original purpose? Do you have a policy:

  • providing money for a spouse or children, who no longer need it?
  • covering a mortgage on a home or other property that’s now paid off?
  • covering educational expenses that no longer exist?
  • protecting a business you no longer own or that has other coverage at this point?

Donate a new or existing policy to Scouting and your tax deduction is about equal to the policy’s cash surrender value

Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Charitable giving vehicles described herein are offered only in areas where permitted by law. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results.