Dec 19, 2022

‘Tis a Giving Time of Year

As we near the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays, and also as we begin the thought processes of dealing with income taxes shortly after New Years’, the idea of giving gifts to family members and to friends become major consideration in your formulation of plans. In the United States, this also can impact the idea of minimizing your upcoming income tax considerations.

I would suggest you include planning for a gift to a good friend of all U.S. genealogists: the National Genealogical Society.

NGS, a non-profit founded in 1903, is the premier U.S. national society for beginners to advanced family historians. Indeed, the NGS is “For generations. Past. Present. Future.” 

As stated in the Society’s mission statement, “Our mission is to inspire, connect, and lead the family history community. We foster collaboration and best practices in advocacy, education, preservation, and research. We enable people, cultures, and organizations to discover the past and create a lasting legacy.”

Why not help out our good friend and help make sure the organization can continue to provide services for future genealogists? You can make a big difference with your financial support to NGS.

There are several things you can do, both at this time of year, and especially over the next two weeks that can make a big difference come tax time in April.

Charitable contributions can be donated until the end of the year

Of course, donations by anyone are always appreciated at any time of year. However, if you are 70 1/2 years of age or older, there are additional things to consider. If you “qualify,” you can give to charity through a qualified charitable distribution or QCD. By gifting your retirement withdrawals directly to charity, you can avoid paying taxes on next April 15th as well as on income taxes every year thereafter.

One option (or perhaps I should say “an additional option”) is to remember NGS in your will. Of course, the best option of all is to remember NGS every year PLUS in your disposition of assets to be mentioned in your will. Legacy giving lets you leave a monetary donation or item of value to a charity using your last will and testament. While you may not be able to donate a large amount of money or item of value to a charity right now, chances are you will accumulate wealth throughout the remainder of your life. You obviously need to have a home and method of transportation while you’re alive, but you can’t take them with you when you pass away. If you don’t have a loved one you’d like to leave your property to, you can donate the proceeds of its sale to a registered charity, making for a substantial donation, such as to NGS.

Think of any properties you own and the savings you accrue over time as your living costs decrease, such as vehicle and mortgage payments. Why not specify in your will that such assets be given to the NGS?

It doesn’t just have to be a property either. The same goes for auctionable items of value, stocks, and cash. The best part is leaving a legacy doesn’t take away from your current assets. This gives you a chance to support the charity of your choice when you can afford to — instead of trying to make small donations here and there that affect your budget. 

By leaving a charitable bequest to an organization you care about, you’re honoring yourself in relation to a cause that is near and dear to your heart. Depending on the size of your donation (and the type of charity you support), you may even have a chance to memorialize yourself in some way. For example, the charity may plant a tree, make a plaque, or even name a building in your honor. I will suggest that NGS probably will not name a building in your honor (NGS doesn’t own buildings) but a substantial donation may well result in a scholarship or perhaps recognition of future accomplishments may be named for you for many years after your passing. I cannot think of a better recognition of you and your gift.

Perhaps even better, if your net worth is high when you pass away, your estate may also be subject to estate taxes, which can significantly reduce the net amount your heirs receive. The U.S. federal estate tax calculated during the probate process must be paid before your remaining assets are distributed to your family members and loved ones. 

Consider leaving a gift in your will to maximize your assets’ potential, do some good for the world, and create a legacy for yourself. Consult with your attorney now to further discuss these issues.

2022 NGS Giving Days are Here! 

Quoting the NGS web site at:

We are so thankful to everyone who “answers the call” to support the great programs the National Genealogical Society provides for family historians. In Fiscal Year 2022, we raised over $56,000 to support NGS.

We greatly appreciate our members and other contributors who support NGS financially throughout the year. We particularly thank everyone who makes NGS Giving Days a success!

We hope our plans for the coming year will inspire you to renew your support during our 2022 #NGSGivingDays campaign. Please donate whatever amount you can. Whether your gift is $100, $250, or $500, be assured that your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Please join us in helping the #NewNGS continue its important work with individual genealogists and genealogy societies and organizations! Donate now on our secure website or call 703-525-0050.

Your contribution helps us strengthen our education and records preservation work. New courses and new books are developed each year to help everyone interested in researching their family. We also continue to support record preservation projects at the National Archives through the Stern-NARA fund and projects like Preserve the Pensions.

We greatly appreciate your support! Your generosity truly makes a difference.

Tax ID 52-0745713