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Planned Giving

Why should I make a planned gift to AU?

For more than sixty years, Americans United for Separation of Church and State has been fighting to safeguard the precious First Amendment rights of all Americans. You can help Americans United ensure the future of this critical legacy by joining The Jefferson Circle, the society of members across the nation who have established planned gifts with AU.

Although there are many definitions of planned giving, this is a simple one: a planned gift is any gift other than an outright gift of cash, chosen from a menu of specific "vehicles," with a financial benefit both to Americans United and to you.

Examples include a bequest, a charitable remainder trust, a charitable gift annuity and a beneficiary designation of an insurance policy or IRA. Keep in mind that since Americans United is a tax-exempt organization, there are many tax benefits to gifts of this nature. There are also other financial benefits. Links to additional information on gift types and benefits can be found in the sidebar for your reference.

We can provide no-cost information and guidance on any aspect of planned giving by email, telephone or through a personal visit. We also encourage you to contact your own advisors and others whom you trust about your wishes and your plans.

Since the founding of The Jefferson Circle in commemoration of Americans United's 50th Anniversary, we have welcomed hundreds of generous members to this important group. Membership includes: special publications, technical assistance and the satisfaction of helping to secure the future of the church-state wall.

I want to plan a gift based on my…

Giving Amount

Retirement Plan Assets

Most popular ways to give this asset:

Life Insurance

Most popular ways to give this asset:

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Americans United for Separation of Church and State 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 Americans United for Separation of Church and State [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 Americans United 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 Americans United 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 Americans United 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 Americans United where you agree to make a gift to Americans United 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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.