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Giving and Giving Back


Walt McCarthy and Henry

Animals give us so much and ask for so little in return. All it really takes is some food, water, shelter and a little attention to keep pets satisfied. Happily, most pet owners go far beyond those basics to make sure their pets are comfortable and well cared for. Walt McCarthy is an example of someone who goes even beyond that, taking exceptional care of his own pets (just ask Henry—Walt's chocolate lab mix pictured with him) and "giving back" to help other animals, through his active support of the Animal Humane Society.

Walt has been giving back to animals since 1973, when he first became a member of the Board of Directors for the Society. Over the years Walt has been an ambassador for the Animal Humane Society, raising awareness about its many accomplishments and raising funds to support the programs and building expansions that have allowed the Society to serve even more animals and people throughout the Twin Cities. According to Walt, the Society is giving back, too. Beyond caring for and finding families for thousands of animals each year, the Animal Humane Society provides a multitude of services for the community, including educational programs for kids and adults, dog-training classes and pet therapy services. In its area of expertise, Walt says, "the Animal Humane Society is just as important to the community as the Guthrie Theater or the symphony."

In addition to his service as a Board member, Walt has also pledged to give back to the animals in another way. He has included the Animal Humane Society as a beneficiary in his will. Walt has had a will since he was 21 years old, so it's clear he understands the importance of planning ahead. He urges everyone who has considered adding the Society to his or her estate plan to "get it done as soon as possible." It's one way you can give back to the animals who give us so much.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Animal Humane Society a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to the Animal Humane Society [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose." 

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the Society or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Society as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the Society as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the Society where you agree to make a gift to the Society and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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