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Leave a Legacy for the Valley You Love

Planned gifts are an inspiring way to support land conservation in the future while providing for your own and your family’s financial security at the same time.

A planned gift is a contribution that is arranged in the present but allocated at a future date, and is commonly donated through a will or trust. Many types of planned gifts offer tax benefits to the donor.

Learn more about philanthropic opportunities and their tax benefits below and/or follow the link above to contact us by email. Or, call Monica Green, Development Director, at 413-549-1097.

penny gill photo

“I have chosen to leave a bequest to Kestrel Land Trust in my will because I believe deeply in Kestrel’s mission. The world is in such chaos globally, and the best way that I know, to help us all to create a more sane and sustainable society, is to support visionary and strong local organizations. I trust Kestrel to protect the Valley’s forests and farms that will sustain generations to come.”

Retired Professor of Humanities, Mount Holyoke College

Consider these planned giving options:

Designate Kestrel Land Trust as the recipient of cash, real estate, or another asset in your will. Or you can leave a percentage of your overall estate to Kestrel. A meaningful legacy gift can be made by listing Kestrel Land Trust as a beneficiary of your will using the following language: “I give the sum of $_____ [or the rest, residue or remainder of my estate] to Kestrel Land Trust with its principal office in Amherst, MA, or its successors, for general purposes, without restrictions.”

Land with important conservation values can be donated to Kestrel. Houses, buildings, and other developed real estate can be donated as trade properties: the sale of the property then provides funding for conservation projects.

IRA, 401(K), 403(b), or other Qualified Retirement Plan Assets
A donor may leave a legacy using these assets simply by naming Kestrel Land Trust as a beneficiary. Since these assets are often subject to both estate and income taxes, there is a benefit to prioritizing them for charitable purposes.

If you are 70 ½ or older, you may request that your IRA plan administrator transfer a specific dollar amount (up to $100,000) directly from your account to Kestrel Land Trust. Such a gift will count towards your required minimum distribution, and can be excluded from your federal gross income resulting in possible tax savings.

Kestrel Land Trust may be named as the owner and beneficiary of a new or existing policy – especially a policy that is no longer essential to your financial goals. In this situation, premiums on the policy you pay become tax deductible.

A gift annuity is a contract between a donor and a non-profit organization in which the organization agrees to pay a fixed income, usually for the life of the donor and/or spouse, but others can be named as the life beneficiaries. At the conclusion of the annuity, the amount equal to the difference between the original gift and the cost of providing the annuity is left to benefit the organization in perpetuity.

A charitable remainder trust is a tax-exempt irrevocable trust designed to reduce your individual taxable income. It first disperses income to the beneficiaries of the trust for a specified period of time and then donates the remainder of the trust to the designated charity.

A charitable lead trust enables the donor to make significant charitable gifts in the near term then distribute the remainder interest to non-charitable beneficiaries, who may benefit from significantly lowered gift and estate taxes.

Frequently asked questions about legacy and planned gifts

Who needs a will?

You need a will if you wish to have a say in how and to whom your assets are distributed after your death. Without a will, your estate will be divided according to the laws of Massachusetts, or the state in which you reside. With a will you may be able to minimize estate taxes and provide gifts in trust for minors and/or charitable organizations.

I already have a will. How do I include Kestrel Land Trust?

Talk to the attorney who drew up your will. If including a bequest is the only modification you are making, this can usually be accomplished by adding a codicil to the will.

How often should I update my will?

A change in your will is often required when you experience changes in your personal or financial situation, such as marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a spouse, a new business, purchase of a new home, retirement, and/or a desire to make charitable gifts using your assets.

I would like to name Kestrel Land Trust as a beneficiary of my IRA or life insurance policy. Who should I talk to?

Contact your life insurance agent or the financial institution where your IRA is invested.

Who should I consult about setting up one of the other kinds of planned gifts?

A financial planner can help you evaluate which type of planned gift or gifts will help you achieve your financial objectives, and support the non-profit organization/s you care about. The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts also offers many valuable resources for donors and can be reached at or 413-732-2858.

Join These Visionaries When You Make Your Planned Gift

Kestrel Land Trust is grateful for the generous bequests provided by the following members of our community over the years. These visionary gifts helped Kestrel Land Trust grow from an idea in 1970 to an accredited regional land trust that has protected more than 23,000 acres with our conservation partners. You can help ensure a legacy of land conservation in the Valley by including Kestrel in your estate plans today. Thank you!

Kathryn Burnett of Northampton
Janet & Toby Dakin of Amherst
Elizabeth M. Guest of Amherst
Hanna W. Hopp of Northampton
Thelma J. Isaacs of Amherst
Robert & Gale McClung of Amherst
Helga Ragle of Belchertown
Eva Schiffer of Amherst
Carl & Dorothy Swanson of Amherst
Clarice Brows Thorp of Pelham
Isabel Wilder of Amherst
Richard & Nathalie Woodbury of Shutesbury
George & Hope Wright of Pelham
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