Planned Giving.

How will you be remembered?

Bill Long Board Chair Emeritus

Recently, Bill Long joined our most loyal supporters in the Legacy Circle by including the Ridge Trail in his planned giving. He named the Ridge Trail one of his beneficiaries. As Chair Emeritus of the Ridge Trail’s Board of Directors, Bill has seen the Ridge Trail grow from a lofty vision to 375 miles of trek-ready trail. His charitable estate gift will provide a five-year-old today the opportunity to complete a loop trek around the trail when she reaches college.

Leaving a gift to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council in your will is an opportunity to communicate your values and your dreams for the kind of future you hope your children and grandchildren will inherit. Join Bill and the other Ridge Trail Legacy Circle members with these easy ways to create your legacy.

Please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to make that sure your questions are answered and your goals met. Our Development Director, Eileen Morris is available at (415) 561-2595 x 203 or

In addition, you can access our basic introduction to estate planning in the comfort of your own home with our clear and concise Estate Planning Video Series. The series takes you through the pros and cons of probate, wills, living trusts, advance health care directives, and other basic estate planning tools. Or you can download a computer-friendly version of our Estate Planning Organizer now.

Gifts that cost nothing now
Gifts that pay you income
Gifts that reduce taxes
Gifts that honor a loved one
Why the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council?
Have you already included the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council in your will or trust? Let us thank you!

Gifts that cost nothing now.

The most common legacy gift people make to support the work of the Ridge Trail Council is a gift in their will or living trust, also known as a charitable bequest. There is no need to write a check now and your assets remain entirely under your control during your lifetime. To make a charitable bequest, consider adding the following language to your will or living trust:

“I give devise and bequeath to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council (tax I.D. # 94-3148503), located in San Francisco, California, [ __ % of my estate, or description of specific asset including location, or $__ dollars] for its general use [or the following specific purpose: ____].”

Gifts that pay you income.

Charitable gift annuities

These provide donors with guaranteed fixed payments for life and an immediate income tax deduction, while allowing them to make a significant gift to a mission they care about.

Gift annuities are easy to establish and can be funded with a minimum gift of cash or stock of $25,000. The annuity rate is based on your age at the time the annuity is established. Typically, you must be at least 60 years of age when payments begin. Gift annuities can provide lifetime payments to one or two people.

Sample single life annuity rates:

Age Current Rates
60 4.7%
65 5.1%
70 5.5%
75 6.2%
80 7.3%
85 8.3%
90+ 9.5%

Gift Annuity Example: Telia Richards, age 75, funds a $25,000 charitable gift annuity contract to benefit the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Her annuity rate is 6.2%, giving her an annual guaranteed payment for life of $1,550. $1,094 of her payment is tax-free for twelve years. She also receives an immediate income tax deduction of $11,439 that may help her reduce her overall tax liability.

Charitable trusts

These provide income for life, savings on capital gains tax, an immediate income tax deduction-and the satisfaction of making a significant gift to a good cause like the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council.

Any asset placed in a charitable trust (cash, stock, or real estate) is invested by the trustee to pay you income for the rest of your life and, if you wish, to pay your heirs for life or for a specified term. When the trust ends, the remainder goes to charity.

Your trust may provide you with important tax benefits:

  • An immediate income tax deduction for a percentage of your gift.
  • Bypass of capital gains tax on the sale of appreciated property.
  • The trust principal is not subject to estate tax.

Appreciated real estate

This is often an excellent asset to place in a charitable trust. Under ordinary circumstances, owners face substantial capital gains taxes when they sell rental properties, commercial real estate, and in some cases, personal residences, even after a $250,000 or $500,000 exclusion has been used. However, because your charitable trust will be selling the property, there will be no capital gains taxes due when the real estate is sold.

Gifts of appreciated stock

These gifts are ideal for funding a charitable remainder trust because the stock can be reinvested by the trust for greater income while bypassing capital gains taxes at the time of the sale.

There are two basic types of charitable remainder trusts. An annuity trust will pay you a fixed dollar amount for the rest of your life. A unitrust will pay you a fixed percentage of the trust principal each year, so if the value of the trust principal increases over time, your income increases with it. Finally, your trust must have a trustee: a bank or trust company, an individual with professional experience in trust management, a relative, or yourself.

Gifts that reduce taxes.

Gifts of retirement plan assets

Naming the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council as a beneficiary of your retirement account can be an easy way to make a legacy gift and reduce taxes to your loved ones.

If you leave your retirement plan to your children, they will have to pay income tax on its distribution.the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council does not pay this tax, so 100% of your gift will be used to fulfill its mission. Here’s an example of what this can mean to your heirs:

A widower died a few years ago. He left his $300,000 house to charity and his $300,000 retirement plan to his relatives. He should have done just the opposite. The relatives had to pay income tax on the $300,000 in the retirement plan, an $80,000 cost to them. If they had received the home, and the charity had received the retirement plan payment, no one would have paid income tax.

To make a gift of retirement plan assets, simply ask your plan administrator for a beneficiary designation form and name the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council as a primary or contingent beneficiary.

Gifts of real estate

A charitable life estate agreement allows you to give a personal residence or farm to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council while retaining the right to live there for life. Donors who enter a life estate agreement receive an immediate income tax deduction. The deduction is based on the present value of the home discounted by the estimated length of time the charity must wait to receive the home. To put it simply, a person age 70 will receive a larger deduction than will a person age 50, all other things being equal.

The IRS grants the deduction even though the donor continues to enjoy full use of the home. But the IRS also expects the owner to have full responsibility for the care and maintenance of the home. That’s why life tenancy agreements simply continue things as they are currently, with the donor dealing with maintenance, property taxes, insurance and the like. The major benefits to the donor, then, are continued use of the home, an immediate charitable income tax deduction, the avoidance of probate, the avoidance of estate tax on the property, and the satisfaction of making a substantial gift to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council during one’s lifetime.

Gifts that honor a loved one.

Do you have a friend or family member who would have appreciated your support of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council? If so, it is easy to recognize them when informing the Council of your intended gift. Just use the handy form provided below.

Why should I consider a legacy gift the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council?

Many people join the Ridge Trail Legacy Circle so their example can influence others to make the same commitment. Others plan their giving so that they know the work of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council will carry on. The Council believes that easy access to nature is essential to live life well. Every day we work to complete a local long-distance trail packed with panoramas and open space that inspires everyday and epic adventures. Planned gifts ensure that this vision will be fulfilled.

Have you already included the Ridge Trail Council in your will or trust?

Let us thank you! We would be honored to acknowledge your gift in the Ridge Trail Legacy Circle. So please, let us know. If you’d like, you could mail or email the following information.

Request more information or a personal legacy gift consultation.

The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council offers personal consultation, without cost or obligation, to those interested in learning more about legacy gift options. Our legacy giving specialists will be glad to talk with you about your goals and provide you with confidential estimates of the tax and income benefits of specific legacy gifts. Our specialists provide information only. The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council recommends you consult with professional advisors before making any gift. If you would like more information, contact Eileen Morris, Development Director, at (415) 561-2595 x 203 or