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Tributes: Creative Ideas for Remembering Others

There are so many tangible things that can add value to, and enrich, our lives. But most important to many of us are the people who are closest to us - those we admire, respect, cherish, and love. We all have special relationships with people whose impact on our lives is priceless.

One of the ways an increasing number of people choose to honor the special people in their lives is through charitable gifts.

Because so many have all of the material things they need in life, more and more people are supporting worthy organizations and institutions as a way of honoring that special person "who has everything."

Whether given in memory of a friend or loved one who has passed away or as a tribute to one still living, these special gifts can touch friends and family deeply while they improve the world around us.

Making "occasional" gifts

Gifts made in honor of loved ones at times such as Mother's Day or Father's Day, at the birth of a child or grandchild, on a birthday, wedding, anniversary, graduation, or other special occasion can be sincere reminders to friends or family members of how much you care.

One gift - dual purposes

Do you have a pledge commitment or other charitable gifts you plan to complete soon? Or do you make holiday gifts each year to charitable organizations and institutions? consider designation these gifts in honor or in memory of someone special to you. In so doing, you receive the dual benefits of supporting worthy causes that are important to you, while at the same time remembering a close friend or family member.

Making your gifts wisely

In the information below, we present a number of ways that memorial and tribute gifts may best be completed.

Cash and checks: Cash and checks are the most common forms of memorial gifts. Gifts of cash are generally deductible in amounts up to 50% of your adjusted gross income. Any unused deductions can be used in as many as five future tax years.

Cash alternatives: Considering the sustained economic growth in recent years, it is no surprise that some choose to make their gifts in the form of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other properties that have increased in value.

You may be surprised, however, to learn that gifts of qualified assets that have been held for more than 12 months can yieldextra tax benefits!

Not only are such gifts generally deductible from income tax at their full fair market value, they also avoid capital gains tax that would otherwise be due on a sale. Gifts of appreciated assets are deductible in amounts up to 30% of adjusted gross income and any excess may be carried over for use in the future.

As an added benefit of gifts of publicly traded securities, you may wish to use cash that might otherwise have been donated to repurchase the same securities. When the transaction is complete, you will have made a gift, eliminated capital gains tax, and continue to own the same investment with a new, higher cost basis.

Take losses - give cash

If any of your investments have decreased in value since you have owned them, consider selling them, thereby creating a loss you may be able to deduct, and giving the cash proceeds as a memorial or tribute gift. Using this planning technique, you may actually be able to deduct more than the current value of the investment, while minimizing the impact of the loss.

Special "pockets" for giving

If you are over the age of 59 1/2 and have retirement accounts, you may wish to make withdrawals in order to fund your memorial gifts. You report the income on your tax return while taking a corresponding deduction for your gifts up to the allowable limits.

This will generally result in a wash for tax purposes and allow you to utilize these funds in a way that assures they will, in effect, never be subject to income, gift, or estate taxes.

Do you own a life insurance policy that has cash value but is no longer needed for its intended purpose? Such "obsolete" policies can provide a way to make a convenient tax-deductible gift in honor or in memory of a loved one, especially if the policy was originally purchased for that person's benefit.

Your will, trust, and/or other long-range financial plans may also provide special ways to make gifts as tributes to others.

Whether you leave a specific amount, a percentage, or what's left after first providing for loved ones, such gifts can assure that the memory of a loved one lives on in the future.

More Information

As you can see, there are a number of ways you can make meaningful gifts that also honor those special to you. There may also be commemorative or memorial naming opportunities that interest you. We will be pleased to provide more information to you and/or your advisors as you complete your memorial gift plans.

The Altoona Area School District foundaiton
1415 Sixth Avenue ~ Altoona PA 16602
814-946-8424 ~ Fax 814-946-8565

Neither the author nor this organization is engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice andassistancet in specific cases, the services of an attorney or other professional advisor should be obtained. The purpose of this publication is to provide accurate and authoritative information of a general character only. Watch for tax revisions. State laws govern wills, trusts, and charitable gifts made in contractual agreement. Advice from legal counsel should be sought when considering these types of gifts.

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