Bequests and Planned Gifts


Once you have taken care of your loved ones and heirs in your estate plan, it is a good time to consider those organizations like the NCTA whose missions are dear to your heart. Leaving a legacy in the form a planned gift to the NCTA will be one of the most profound gifts you will establish in your lifetime. Planned gifts can involve an array of tax savings and benefits and depending on the gift vehicle you choose, they don’t have to be complicated. You will want to consult your financial advisor once you have some idea of what type of planned gift suits your need and interest. The Association offers several planned gifts to choose from.


The bequest is the simplest planned gift to put into effect. In your will or estate plan you simply indicate that you would like a portion of your estate to pass to the NCTA after your death. You can choose a set dollar amount or a percentage of the assets in your estate.

Bequests are revocable so you can change your gift at any time. It is important to include the exact description of your gift and the exact legal description of the organization you wish to give to so we have included some sample language below:

Show Sample Bequest Language

Please use the following language in drafting your bequest. If you are using an estate lawyer to draw up your estate, share this information with them. If you find you need more information, please contact the national headquarters for the North Country Trail Association at (616) 897-5987.

“I give to the North Country Trail Association, a nonprofit corporation headquartered in Lowell, MI, the sum of $______________ of (or ______% of) my estate, or the property described herein, to be used for _________________ (specify purpose or state that the funds are to be used at the “organization’s discretion”). If, in the opinion of the trustees at the time that this gift is actualized, the need for funds for this purpose no longer exists, the trustees or their designee(s) are authorized to use the funds in the best interest of the North Country Trail Association.”

Retained Life Estate Gifts

Real estate can be either an asset or a liability depending on one’s circumstances. For some it is a wonderful asset to pass on to an heir but in other circumstances, due to estate taxes and resale potential, it can be a burden to pass on through one’s estate, particularly when it is known that the next generation has no interest in the land or a home or farm. That is where a nonprofit such as the NCTA can help.

Real estate can be passed on to a nonprofit organization after death in a bequest or during one’s life through a retained life estate gift. If the donor desires to live in the home and on the property for the remainder of their life, that is admissible without compromising the tax implications. The NCTA also accepts outright gifts of real estate, click here: Gifts of Stock and Property.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Some people who want to make a substantial gift to the NCTA but want to receive a life income annuity choose the charitable remainder trust as an option.

Simply put, the donor places a certain amount of money, at least $10,000 in a trust for a term or a lifetime and an annuity is paid to a designee or designees every year until the trust matures. The annuity is determined based on age of the donor and the value of the trust and can be a set dollar amount or a percentage of the trust value. At the end of the term or the donor’s life, the portion remaining in the trust becomes a gift to a designated charitable organization.

This planned gift is a great way to make a significant gift to your favorite nonprofit, receive some great tax benefits and assure a life income for the remainder of your life or for a certain term. The annuity can also be designed to benefit others in the donor’s family.

Gifts of Life Insurance Policies or Retirement Funds

Another very easy and tax beneficial planned gift is the donation of one’s life insurance policy or a retirement fund. When a donor determines that they will not need a certain policy or account, they can conveniently list the name of a nonprofit organization such as the NCTA as the beneficiary and those funds will pass to the organization when the will is executed.

Making a planned gift can seem complicated. It doesn’t have to be. Contact me and we can talk about the options.

Andrea Ketchmark, Executive Director
(616) 897-5987, ext. 6