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 "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ― Mahatma Gandhi

Legacy Giving


Animal lovers can support CLAWS through bequests from a last will or trust, resulting in charitable giving can continue on even after they pass away.


This is most commonly called "Planned Giving," and it is a solution that can put your compassion to work and keep your legacy and love for animals living on. According to Harvard Law School, planned giving allows you to make a charitable gift by leaving money for pet rescue and animal shelters in your last will or trust while addressing other fiscal and estate planning concerns. Leaving part of your legacy for homeless pets and pet rescue organizations may offer tax benefits in addition to demonstrating your feelings of social responsibility, and expressing your confidence in the organization and its endeavors. Furthermore, estate planning donations can take many forms and be funded through numerous sources.


Bequests and donations to animal care causes are charitable contributions that reduce the size of your estate. So, not only can your contribution be considered tax-exempt but it also can result in reduced estate taxes. Plus, IRS accredited charities that are animal rescue and animal shelter organizations aren't subject to taxation, so they won't pay taxes on the money you leave them.


Part of planned giving involves deciding what type of gift you want to give. Cash is always an option, and you'll need to specify the amount and the source from which it is coming, as well as naming the animal charity or charities that you want to give to. You can also choose to gift either the entire amount in an account or only a portion of it, listing either a specific dollar amount or percentage of the balance at the time of your passing


When you make a bequest, you'll be leaving money for pet rescue and animal shelters in your last will or trust. You'll literally name your chosen organization(s) in the legal document as a beneficiary of a specified amount of money or certain assets, such as jewelry, art, or other valuables.


Another strategy for leaving a part of your legacy for homeless pets and animal care organizations is to designate the pet charity as the beneficiary of a bank account or securities funds. All you need to do is list the name of the animal charity as the beneficiary of the account or fund documents, and they will go directly to your specified charity when you pass away without having to go through probate.


Your life insurance is a valuable planned giving tool, too. There are three ways to benefit pet charities using a life insurance policy. First, you could list a deserving pet organization as the beneficiary of an existing policy, indicating whether you wish the charity to receive a certain percentage or all of the policy proceeds. Second, any paid-up life insurance policy that you may no longer have a need for can be assigned to the pet charity of your choice. This option will provide you with an income tax deduction while you are still living. The third way to leave money to an animal shelter or pet rescue organization is to purchase a new life insurance policy and list the charity as the owner. This option, too, offers tax benefits as the premiums you pay may be tax deductible.  

Gifting your retirement, annuity or pension fund is another sensible and smart way of leaving a part of your legacy for homeless pets and animal causes. These types of accounts are tax-deferred so, if you pass away with money still in them, your estate will increase by the value of the account and your heirs will be required to pay taxes on that money. If you fill out a beneficiary account form listing an animal charity as the beneficiary of your retirement account, annuity or pension, however, the amount remaining at the time of your passing will go directly to the worthy cause of your choice without affecting the value of your estate. Plus, because it's going to a non-profit organization, the distribution will be tax-free.


Once you've made the decision to engage in Planned Giving, you'll need to create a last will or trust and officially name the organization(s) in the legal documents. Be sure to include:

  • the organization's legal name

  • the organization's address

  • the tax ID number for the organization.

You'll also want to include as part of the bequest in the will or trust that the organization is a 501C(3) non-profit organization, existing under the laws of the state in which it was formed. Generally, all the information you need can be found on the website of your favorite charity.


CLAWS will be happy to provide you with all the information you or your estate planner will need.

Essentially, how to donate money to animal shelters and pet rescue organizations involves being specific about the gift being given as well as listing detailed information about the charitable organization the estate planning donations will go to.


Of course, estate planning also includes providing for your pets today and in the event of your death. If you're leaving money for pet rescue and animal shelters in your last will or trust, you can also name the charity as a pet guardian and stipulate that all or part of the funds are to go toward your pet's care in the event you pass away.

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