Gifts of retirement assets can sometimes save heirs undue tax burdens and allow donors to accomplish their charitable objectives. Unlike bequests to individual heirs, retirement plan assets bequeathed to a non-profit are not taxed. This allows donors to make a larger gift and possibly save other nontaxable assets for donation to their heirs.
It's also possible to set up a charitable trust with retirement assets. With a trust, a donor simply transfers their retirement assets to San Francisco Zen Center as the last beneficiary. The trust can provide payments for a spouse, partner or other loved one for the rest of his/her life. After the death of the beneficiary, the assets remaining in the trust can be used by San Francisco Zen Center to continue its work. There will be no estate or income taxes imposed on the assets at the time of the gift.
This information is not intended as specific legal advice. Consult an attorney when considering any legal matter. State laws which govern wills and contracts vary and are subject to change.