FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What Is A Bequest?
Bequests are the actual gift disbursals that result, upon one's passing, from a specifically worded commitment in a will or trust agreement. Bequests are unlike any other gifts we receive because they represent individuals' final statements about what is most important to them. Every bequest is a powerful expression of loyalty, good will, and faith in our future and our mission.

I'm Not Wealthy, Can My Bequest Still Make a Difference?
You do not have to be wealthy to create a legacy. A bequest of any size can be significant in helping to achieve our mission and preserve our institutional well-being.

Can bequests be handled in a living trust?
Certainly. You may wish to consider a living trust as an estate planning tool. Living trusts may be either revocable or irrevocable, and there are advantages and disadvantages to consider in both. Your attorney or financial advisor can best explain your options.

Can land or real estate be used as a charitable gift?
Yes, and it often is. Because it is not immediately marketable in the same manner as securities, land or developed real estate is a little more complex as a gift. Farms, homes, vacation homes, apartment houses and commercial real estate are some examples of gifts of real estate. A particular type of a charitable remainder trustis often used to complete the gift.

How often should I update my will or trust?
These documents should be updated any time your financial or your family circumstances change. If you move, you should have an attorney licensed in and familiar with the new state's laws review your will or trust agreement, as laws vary from state to state. It is always wise, even if there are not any significant changes in your circumstances, to periodically review these important documents. A good rule of thumb is to review your will every three years.

Can I use my insurance to benefit charitable organizations
Yes. This is an area overlooked by many. You can name one or more charities as alternate or as primary beneficiary. Furthermore, if you no longer need the policy proceeds in your estate for use now, you can transfer ownership of the policy to the charity or charities. If the policy has cash loan value, the charity can draw this out and use it. In this case, you not only receive a charitable gift deduction, but any additional premiums you pay are tax deductible for you now. And, on your death, the charity receives the balance of the policy proceeds and none of it is included in your estate for tax purposes.

Codicils: What if I already have a will?
A codicil is a written change or amendment to a will. The following is an example of a codicil to an existing living trust or will that enables you to include a charitable bequest. Please Note - this is an example only. Please consult with your attorney.

This is a codicil to my living trust or will dated ___________________.
I give and bequeath the sum of $_____________
[or] the following described property:
_______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
[or] ______% of my estate
[or] the residue of my estate
…to the California Shakespeare Theater/OR to be added to the Moscone Permanent Endowment for the California Shakespeare Theater.