Love animals? Make an animal charity your beneficiary

States like Texas have more than their share of animals, both domesticated and commercial. But like every other state, there are many domesticated animals in need of care and loving homes. If you are one of those animal-loving people who care deeply about animals, you are probably well aware of the need for volunteers and funds to care for animals in need. It is never-ending. Have you ever thought about putting a charitable contribution in your will to the ASPCA or making the ASPCA a beneficiary of your estate?

This is a great option for those who have accumulated a healthy estate during their lifetime and don’t have heirs, as well as for those who do have heirs. For those who do have heirs, you can leave a one-time sum to the charity or a percentage of your assets.

Even if you don’t have a large estate to plan distribution of, most people have a retirement plan, insurance policy, 401(k), 401(b) or an IRA of some kind. You can designate the ASPCA as a beneficiary. This is a great way to continue giving to something you cared deeply about in your lifetime. You do not have to give the full amount if you have other heirs you want to designate funds to. You can designate a percentage of the funds, or you can designate the ASPCA as the contingent beneficiary in case your primary beneficiary becomes deceased before you.

There are additional benefits to giving to a charity at your death. The death benefits from your retirement plan are usually taxable to an heir but not to charities. So this is tax-free giving. Also, because it is contingent on your death, while you are alive, your retirement plan is still accessible to you to do with as you please.

You might also consider naming the ASPCA as a beneficiary for investment accounts or bank accounts. This is a great way of sharing your love for our four-legged friends!

Source:, “Beneficiary Designations: A Gift to the ASPCA that Costs Nothing Now” Nov. 13, 2014