Will Sez: An Archive of Financial Planning Ideas

Articles from Herbie Hawk, The Council Newspaper.

Effective Giving - Important Tips

Charitable gifts remain an important and fulfilling way to take action that can help shape the world around you. Your gifts are a tangible reflection of your beliefs, values and concerns and serve as an example to others. These eight (8) Planning Tips will help you give most effectively, regardless of whether the gift is outright or deferred, a larger, planned gift for endowment or an annual contribution.

Gifts completed this year can result in an income tax deduction for 2002. Multiple gifts throughout the year can increase your tax savings.

If you anticipate being in a lower income tax bracket in future years because of reduced tax rates or a change in your income, deductions for charitable gifts completed this year may save more in taxes.

When considering gifts of non-cash property, the greatest tax savings generally come from choosing a readily marketable asset owned for at least one year that has increased the most in value.

When Planning a gift of securities, please contact us or have your advisor do so to help complete the gift. Also be sure to allow adequate time to complete the transaction.

If you are reviewing your will or other estate plans because of tax law or other changes, now may be an ideal time to consider your charitable interests.

Insurance policies no longer needed for payment of estate taxes or other needs may be an excellent resource to consider when planning charitable gifts.

Gifts from retirement plans can be a convenient way to make charitable gifts while saving both estate and income taxes for your heirs.

The amount that can be left free of gift and estate taxes can be effectively increased through the use of charitable trusts and similar gift plans.

Be sure to keep acknowledgments and other records of your gifts to safeguard your deductions. This is especially important for gifts of $250 or more. For more information consult your financial advisor, attorney or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer at 610-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Where there is a Will there is a Way

Have you ever thought about making a bequest to the Hawk Mountain Council but did not because of the cost for preparing a new will?

You do not need a new will to make a gift from your estate. It can be done with a simple Codicil you prepare. A Codicil is a document that supplements your Will. It does not change anything in the Will.

You simply complete the two (2) page Codicil, and get it witnessed and notarized. The Codicil form and witness/notary page are available from Bob Sharetts at the Council Service Center.

You have been generous in support of scouting in the past. A gift to the Council Endowment Trust fund is a wonderful way to provide on-going support for scouting forever.

Your values define your life. Passing your values on is not a simple process, but one that will require serious thought.

What do you believe in? Who are the people and organizations that have influenced your life, and the lives of your children? What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

Contact your attorney, financial advisor or call Bob Sharetts (610-926-3406), Council Development Officer if you have questions. [Return to the Top.]

Vacations And Wills

Would you consider going on a vacation trip without some advance planning? Selecting the destination and travel itinerary, making the needed reservations, choosing the appropriate clothing and notifying friends or neighbors of your plans are important elements of a pleasant vacation experience.

One item that many people overlook is the need to review your will prior to departing for vacation. Has your family situation, or other factors, changed such they would warrant the appropriate changes in your will?

Many people find it difficult to face their own mortality. As a result, they put off doing something that could greatly benefit the people and organizations they love and who rely upon them. Preparing for the future and protecting your loved ones is an important way to apply the Boy Scout Motto, "Be Prepared". This small investment in time will insure that your desires with respect to family, friends, and worthy organizations like Scouting will be carried out.

Call Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer at 610-926-3406 or your legal adviser about changing or writing your wil before leaving on vacations. [Return to the Top.]

Gifts Of Appreciated Property

These days, there are lots of ways for you to make gifts to your local council. Most people, however, think of only cash gifts when they get ready to support Scouting. For many people, gifts of appreciated property may be more beneficial to give than cash.

Many individuals have stocks, bonds, land and other assets that may have appreciated in value. If you sold one of these items, you would owe capital gains tax on the difference between the fair market value and what you paid for the property. This means less money for you to contribute, reinvest, or spend.

By contributing the property directly to Scouting, however, you will receive a tax deduction for the fair market value of the property you are contributing. If the property appreciates in value, then you won't owe any capital gains tax on the gift. Even if you use appreciated property to create a charitable income trust, you receive the same benefits.

Whether you have stock, land, artwork, antiques, vintage cars, or other types of appreciated property, contact us about the advantages of making these gifts to your local council. Your gifts will be appreciated, in more ways than one!

For more information contact Dick Bennett, Scout Executive or Bob Sharetts, Development Officer at 610-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

The Future Begins Now

Many people review their long-range financial and estate plans at the beginning of the year, especially as income tax time comes closer. Remember that your will, life insurance, retirement plans, and other planning vehicles may offer exceptional opportunities for leaving a lasting legacy for others.

For federal tax purposes, there is presently no limit on amounts that can be removed from your taxable estate via charitable gifts. This can be a wonderful way to provide substantial gift and estate tax savings for your heirs. Some gift plans even feature current tax benefits, income, and other welcome advantages.

For baby boomers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- a new financial concern is the support of aging parents. It will surprise many that the average woman between 32 and 50 will spend more years caring for aging parents and relatives than taking care of her children. Since Americans tend to live longer than in the past, this trend will continue. Many worry about their parents' financial needs, and it is common for young families to supplement their parents' income. Unfortunately, most families have to do it with after-tax dollars.

A parental care trust, however, may be an answer for many families. This is how a parental care trust works. You choose the assets you want to put into the trust -- cash, stocks, land, almost anything- and the trustee pays the annual trust income to your parents. When the trust ends, everything left in the trust goes to the local council and/or other charities you select.

The benefits are many. (1) You receive an immediate charitable income tax deduction when the trust is established. (2) The assets are removed from your estate, potentially avoiding estate taxes. (3) Capital gains taxes can be avoided if the trust is funded with highly appreciated assets. (4) The trust provides a lifetime income for your parents. (5) Your local council will receive a major gift when the trust ends.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

James E. West Fellowship Award

In 1994, the National Council introduced the James E. West Fellowship Award for contributions of $1,000 to our Council's Endowment Trust Fund.

The James E. West Fellowship Award is an attractive 8-by10 inch certificate, personalized with the donor's name, date of gift, and Council name. In addition, there is a distinctive lapel pin/charm and an embroidered square knot for uniform wear. The award is named after the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America who exemplified Ralph Waldo Emerson's observation that "an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man." Scouting today is the "lengthened shadow" of more than three decades of the farseeing and dedicated leadership of Dr. James E. West. Those who are recognized by the James E. West Fellowship Award will cast their own "lengthened shadow" as they help ensure the Scouting legacy for future generations of young people and create the financial stability of the program in the twenty-first century for their local Council.

Organizations or individuals may make or contribute to an award for themselves or in honor of someone -- an Eagle Scout, a Silver Beaver recipient, District Chairman, or in memory of a departed loved one, business associate or special Scouter.

Wouldn't this be a great way to honor a Unit Leader who has served for a long time?

How about your Unit getting one as part of their Anniversary celebration? The list of current James E. West Fellowship Award recipients follows.

Call Bob Sharetts, Development Officer (610) 926-3406, Dick Bennett, Scout Executive or see your District Executive for applications or more information about becoming a James E. West Fellow. [Return to the Top.]

How To Protect Your Rights With A Will

A will is a misunderstood legal instrument. When mentioned in books or featured in the news, wills are often linked only with people of great wealth. Few Americans understand the true value of a will as part of a complete estate plan for everyone.

Many people see the preparation of a will as something "nice" to do but not at all essential. This thinking can cause heartache and confusion when a person of even modest means dies without a will.

In our society, private ownership of property is everyone's cherished right. While the government receives a certain amount in taxes, we are free to use the rest of our property and earnings however we choose. Most people spend a large portion, if not all, of their money caring for themselves and their families. Some property is given away to individuals and favorite causes, and some is spent on leisure time and luxuries. In addition, most people accumulate property during their lifetime.

When they die, a "gap" in ownership occurs. Closing the gap by reassigning a person's property to new owners is too often decided by courts governed by state laws. But why should final distribution of your property be left to the discretion of the state?

It doesn't have to be. Owning property is your right; attached to it is the duty of making your will to distribute your property at death.

A will is vitally important since it is the "instruction sheet: you leave to dispose of your worldly possessions when you no longer need them. If you exercise your right to prepare a will according to the law, your wishes will be respected and your property will pass smoothly and quickly to those you name.

However, when you choose the route of over half of all Americans and leave no valid will, the state must intervene. You leave your heirs a legacy of neglect, confusion, and waste at a time when they are least equipped emotionally and perhaps financially for such an inheritance.

If you leave no instructions, someone else will decide how to distribute your property. That someone is a judge. He or she will assign your property to new owners according to a plan written by your state legislature, a blanket, all-purpose estate plan designed to fit all citizens regardless of whether your needs, your estate or your heirs are "typical". Your attorney will guide you through the will-making process and ensure that your wishes are recorded in correct legal form. Preparation before you meet with your attorney may save time and fees.

Make a list of your property, the persons and institutions you wish to provide for, and your plans for matching property with intended recipients. Take the list with you when you meet with your attorney.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Honoring a Scouter or Unit Anniversary

Is your Unit having a significant anniversary (i.e. 25 ,30, 35 etc. years) and would like to celebrate the occasion with more than an anniversary cake? If you answered "yes", then the James E. West Award is exactly what you need.

A Scouter can be honored for service to youth in many ways: The Pack, Troop or Post makes the recognition, an individual can make it, a company or civic organization can do so as well.

Past and present unit members can contribute to celebrating with a Fellowship Award.

The James E. West Fellowship Award recognizes a $1000 gift to the Hawk Mountain Council Endowment Trust Fund. This amount can never be touched, it is left in the Fund in perpetuity, and the Council uses only the interest earned for operating the Scouting program. In short, the honored individual or Unit is "forever remembered" by future generations of Scouts.

This award also tells the individual that there are those in his or her unit, family or community who hold a deep admiration for what they have done for youth enough admiration to give of their finances so that future generations of boys can enjoy the Scouting experience. The presentation of the award can be a very moving experience, especially when it comes as a surprise.

Here are the simple steps to take in honoring a Scouter or Unit for this Fellowship:

For more information about this unique and treasured way to recognize units and exceptional Scouting leaders and to receive a brochure please Bob Sharetts or Dick Bennett at (610) 926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Is It Time To Freshen Up Your Will?

If you are like many people who have a will, you made it years ago. Unfortunately, your will may be outdated by events since then. Unlike art and antiques, a will doesn't improve with age. In fact, the passage of time can upset a good estate plan -- and present new circumstances and opportunities you never anticipated years ago.

Your life and the lives of your family and friends are full of change. Births, marriages, new or faded friendships, divorces, and deaths can spark the need for addition or deletion of existing provisions. You may want to include new family members or need to adjust your will if one of your beneficiaries have predeceased you.

Often widows and widowers fail to review their will after their spouse had died. Their survivors could find that the will leaves everything to the spouse who can no longer receive it. In this situation, the state law must decide who should get your asset.

Your adult children's' needs are much different then the sort of legacy you planned for them when they were young.

Property you recently inherited, bought or disposed of may call for major revisions in your bequest. Perhaps your estate has grown in size, offering new opportunities for family and charitable gifts. You might never have been able to contribute as much as you wished, and may have new or stronger philanthropic interest.

You want to change your executor if the person named in your will is no longer able to serve.

If you've moved from another state, your will may not conform to the probate and tax laws of Pennsylvania.

Do you need a brand new will, or simply a codicil (amendment for relatively minor changes)? If there are more then a few modifications, you may need a new will. You may wish to consider discussing this with your attorney. The small cost for a simple will or codicil will give you peace of mind to know that your will is legally sound.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Planning a vacation?

Would you consider going on a vacation without some advance planning? Selecting the destination and travel itinerary, making the needed reservations, choosing the appropriate clothing and notifying family, friends or neighbors of your plans are important elements of a pleasant vacation experience.

Prior to departing for vacation is also a good time to review your will. Has your family situation, or other factors in your life, changed? These are reasons why you should make appropriate changes in your will.

Some people might see this as negative or fatalistic. Instead, see it as keeping with the Boy Scout motto, Be Prepared. The small investment in time will ensure that your desires with respect to family, friends, and worthy causes, like Scouting, will be carried out.

If you do not have a will then, without obligation, we will be pleased to send you a free booklet that provides answers to the most commonly asked questions about wills.

Every adult needs a properly prepared will. It is fairly simple, usually not expensive but always very important.

Take a first step today by calling for this free booklet at (610) 926-3406.

Proper preparation makes any vacation more enjoyable. Rest and relax easier knowing that your will is written and/or updated.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

History of The James E. West Fellowship Award

The James E. West Fellowship Award is a national recognition for individuals who contribute $1,000 or more in cash or securities to their local council endowment trust fund. Organizations or individuals may contribute a award in honor of someone -- an Eagle Scout, a Silver Beaver recipient, council president, or district chairman, or in member of a departed loved one, business associate or special Scouter.

The award is named after the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. James E. West is known as the organizational man of the Boy Scouts of America founders. He didn't have the appeal to boys like Robert Baden-Powell, Ernest Thompson or Dan Beard but the early BSA might not have survived without him.

His parents died when he was 7 years old and James West went to an orphanage in Washington D.C. There he contracted tuberculosis that left him with a life-long limp. These early hardships made him a tough man who strived to succeed.

He earned a law degree and established the first juvenile court in Washington D.C. He formed the Child Rescue League and established the city's playground system.

In 1910 he agreed to a six-month position as Chief Scout Executive. He retired from that position 32 years later in 1943. For 21 of those years he was also editor of Boy's Life magazine.

Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that "an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man." Scouting today is "the lengthened shadow" of more than three decades of the farseeing and dedicated leadership of James E. West.

It is fitting that this award be presented to Scouters who have cast their own "lengthened shadows". The contributions made to the Hawk Mountain Council Endowment Fund help ensure a Scouting legacy for future generations of young people by creating a financial stability into the 21st Century.

A plaque honoring members of the James E. West Fellowship hangs in the lobby of the Council Service Center. Future Scouts will see this select group of fellowship members and know that these leaders must have been special people.

Thanks to David S. Fry for this article. Dave is a District Vice-Chairman for Broad Mountain and also a member of the James E. West Fellowship Committee.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

The State Has Made Your Will

There's no law that says you have to make a will or other estate plans. But there are laws that dictate what happens to your property if you don't. Is that a problem? Not unless you believe it's important to decide for yourself how your property will be distributed when you no longer need it.

Here is how state laws typically work when distribution of a resident's property is required because no will or other valid plan was left.

Who Receives Your Property? The state makes assumptions about whom you would like to receive your property. It's generally split among surviving relatives. Friends or charitable interests are never included in the state's will.

How Much Will They Get? Since the state cannot know your wishes concerning your survivors, each will receive a share of the property based on how closely he or she is related to you. If you have no close relatives, the state may give your property to distant relatives you have never met. If you leave no one that state laws consider an heir, your assets could actually become the property of the state.

How Much Will Be Left? It's often a mistake to think you will save money by not having a will, trust, or other arrangement in place. Often, more costs result if you decide to rely on the plans provided by your state.

What About Children? When it comes to children, your state will have two main concerns: Who will care for them and who will manage the funds they inherit? A close relative will usually be chosen by a court to act as guardian. That person may not be one the parents would prefer. And when they reach legal age (as young as 18 years), they will receive all of their inheritance ­ to use as they wish.

Your Estate Plan as Alternative! Fortunately, no one need rely on a "will" made by their state. By taking the time to make your own plans, you can relieve the state of a task for which it is not well suited and only takes on by default. Though a valid will, trust, or other arrangements such as life beneficiary designations or joint ownership of assets, you can decide who will receive your property. Steps can also be taken to reduce expenses and speed up the process of distributing your property. Your estate plans, unlike state laws, can provide for relatives unequally if you wish.

The Charitable Dimension. Many decide to include gifts in their estate plans. If you wish to do so, be sure to use the correct legal name of the intended beneficiary. You might leave a certain amount, a percent of your assets, or simply "what's left" after loved ones have been adequately provided for.

Where Do You Start? Begin by making a list of the persons in your life, the properties you own, the plans you would like to see implemented, and the advisors you trust to assist you as you plan. After considering our plan, contact your attorney to have your will and other plans put in proper legal form, as" do-it-yourself" wills may not be valid. If you do not know an attorney, ask friends or relatives for a recommendation or call your local bar association. The cost is generally reasonable.

Estate planning can be a rewarding experience. Tremendous flexibility is possible when you decide to let your will be known. [Return to the Top.]

Who Will Distribute Your Estate - You Decide

Do you know what Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant and James Garfield have in common? Aside from all being presidents, they all died without a will!

Unfortunately, 7 out of 10 people die without a will. Decisions about the distribution of their estates still get made, but by the state, not them.

Other presidents showed either careful planning or lack of planning. John F. Kennedy's last will was signed in 1954. At that time he was a husband but had not yet become a father or president. Consequently, no provisions were made for his children or for presidential issues, such as his papers and other historical materials.

George Washington made sure that his wife was able to live on and use the land he owned at the time of his death. Benjamin Harrison chose a trust company instead of an individual as his alternate executor. James Madison made a charitable bequest of his library to a university, and Franklin D. Roosevelt used his will to distribute a great deal of personal property. Calvin Coolidge's will consisted of one sentence leaving everything to his wife.

How about you? Who will decide about distribution of your estate? If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Who Will Inherit Your Values?

Life is a series of experiences. Beginning with birth and youth, we have moved through a continuum of life experiences ­ school, adolescence, college, adulthood, job, marriage, family, retirement. And people have been the key to our development ­ parents, family, teachers, friends, youth leaders, business associates All have contributes to who we have become. Today, our life is a statement of who we are.

Estate planning is the process of deciding how best to transfer your assets to children and family, during your lifetime as well as at death. Such planning is critical; for without it you could lose a sizable portion of your estate to taxes. While avoiding unnecessary taxation is an obvious motive, perhaps a greater reason for estate planning lies in the opportunity to transfer values to future generations.

Your values define your life. Passing your values on is not a simple process, but one that will require serious thought.

What do you believe in?

Who are the people and organizations that have influenced your life, and the lives of your children?

What kind of legacy do you want to leave?

You will need advice on the technical details of how you can accomplish your objectives. The services of Richard C. Bennett, Scout Executive and Robert R. Sharetts, Development Officer, Hawk Mountain Council, 610-926-3406, are available to you, offered in the spirit of the Boy Scout Good Turn. [Return to the Top.]

Why Review Your Will?

What if you bought a new car and then never cleaned or repaired it? Or what if you built a new house but never repainted it? You would own a car and a house that, in some ways, resembled a will that was never updated.

Having any kind of a will is better than not having one at all. But updating your will gives the maximum protection to you, your family, and the organizations that you support. As you add to your estate, as your marital and family situation changes, if you move to another state, when tax law changes, and as your preferences and charitable interests change, you will need to update your will.

Contact Bob Sharetts at the Council Service Center (610) 926-3406 or your attorney for more information on wills, bequests and how you can best provide for Scouting by updating your will. With a small amount of work, it can be good as new again. [Return to the Top.]

Remembering and Honoring 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.

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".

If you sometimes have trouble finding the "perfect gift" for someone, a gift in his or her honor that "gives back" to others can be a most appreciated gesture.

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 way to remember family members and friends who have lived before us is through memorial gifts. Such gifts represent a heartfelt way to honor the memory of others while furthering goals that enhance all of our lives.

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

If you would like more information, check out the Memorial/Tribute Fund or contact Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Giving To Get Income

When most people consider making a charitable gift, their main concern lies not so much in parting with their cash or other assets but in giving up the income those assets generate. Many of our friends have been delighted to discover that there are a number of ways they can make substantial charitable gifts yet receive spendable cash for themselves.

The most popular way of doing this is also the simplest: the CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITY. With a simple contractual agreement, you can make a gift to Hawk Mountain Council and receive guaranteed lifetime payments for yourself or your designated beneficiary or beneficiaries.

In return for a gift of at least $2500, we will pay you, or whomever you designate, a stream of payments for life. The payments are a fixed amount and generally depend on the number (up to 2) and age(s) of the beneficiaries. You also get an income tax deduction for a portion of the gift.

In addition to all its other benefits, the gift annuity also offers the opportunity to reduce capital gains tax when long term, appreciated property is used to fund it. And, the reduced amount of tax that is payable can be spread over the donor's life expectancy.

Because of their simplicity, gift annuities do not require a great deal of time or expense to complete, making them suitable for gifts of all sizes.

Contact Bob Sharetts, Development Officer at 610-926-3406 about Charitable Gift Annuities or other life income gifts. §

[Return to the Top.]

Give and Receive

The following facts are from an actual case.

The taxpayer owned shares in a corporation that had a cost basis of $6,650, and a fair market value of $23,650. The stock was yielding a return on the fair market value of only 3.5%. If she had sold the stock to invest in a higher yielding security, she would have had a gain of $17,000 and paid federal tax at 28% of $4,760. She would then have proceeds of only $18,890 to reinvest, after paying the income taxes.

Instead of selling the stock, she invested it in a charitable gift annuity. She received the following benefits:

Since she was 85 years old, the gift annuity is able to pay her 10.5% per year for the rest of her life. The 10.5% return was computed based upon the gross amount, not the net after paying income tax on the gain. It would be possible to select income based upon two lives, payable to her for life then to a friend for life, although it would reduce the annual return she could receive. She receives a current charitable contribution deduction of $13,500, which will save her $3,780 in federal income taxes. If the amount of contribution she was able to deduct was limited in the current year (the deduction of the gift of appreciated securities is limited to 30% of your adjusted gross income), she would be able to carryover the unused deduction for 5 years.

At her death, the balance in the gift annuity will go to her favorite charity or church.

Suggestion: If you have appreciated securities, it is usually better to make contributions with the securities rather than cash, since you are allowed to deduct the fair market value of the contribution and you do not have to report or pay tax on the gain.

For more information about using stock for a charitable gift, gift annuities, wills or estate planning, call you financial advisor, attorney, accountant or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Office at (610) 926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Why Write A Will?

Whether you are married, single, widowed, or divorced, you need a will. Without one, your estate will not be distributed to those family members and organizations that you care about. Instead, the state will decide who gets your estate, and also keep a sizable chunk of it for itself Without a will, the state will also decide who will care for your young children when you are gone.

Without a will, not only will your family and friends suffer, but also your church, your schools, and Scouting. Your bequest gift can make a real difference in the financial future of this council, as well as the other organizations that are so important to you and your family. Call us for more information on the importance of a will and what it can mean to you.

After all, you spent a lifetime building your estate. It's time to take a few minutes to protect that estate.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Guaranteed Income

How would you like for Scouting to send you regular, quarterly income for the rest of your life? The income would be guaranteed, tax free, and you would receive an immediate income tax deduction as well. If this sound interesting, consider the BSA National Gift Annuity Program.

If you are at least 50 years of age, you can receive income from this program with a minimum gift of only $2,500 in cash, stocks or bonds. Of course, the larger your gift the more income you will receive, and the larger the tax deductions you receive. Your income is guaranteed by the general assets of the Boy Scouts of America. The gift you make will go to the Hawk Mountain Council to help us proved the Scouting program to the youth of our community.

Gift Annuity Rates

Age Rate Age Rate
50 6.5% 70 7.7%
60 6.9% 75 8.4%
65 7.2% 80 9.4%

These are the minimum rates you will receive. If you use stocks, the resulting tax benefits will make the rates higher.

For more information, call Bob Sharetts, Development Officer (926-3406). You may also call the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America at 1-800-BSA-INFO for a confidential, personalized example of how this plan could work for you. Both the call and the information are free. [Return to the Top.]

Gift of Stocks

Many people are presently reviewing their stock holdings, trying to decide to keep or sell. The stock market has been exceptional. However, the tax consequences of selling are distasteful. Consider donating them to the Hawk Mountain Council's Endowment Trust Fund, and other charitable organizations such as your church or college.

Except for cash, gifts of publicly traded stocks are the easiest and most common type of gift to the Council. They are easy to give, easy to value, and can be easily sold by the Council. Many donors own stock that is highly appreciated, either because of stock options from their company, or just good investing. Most stocks offer little or no annual return, and many donors are anxious to do something with these assets that make them more productive.

A contribution of stock that you have owned for more than one year will generate a income tax charitable deduction in the amount of the stock's fair market value. Contributing the stock will also allow you to avoid the capital gains tax on the stock, tax that would have to be paid if you sold the stock and either kept the proceeds or contributed that sales proceeds to the Council instead. Also, regardless of whether the stock is given outright or placed into a trust, the stock is out of your estate, potentially reducing probate costs and estate taxes.

The fair market value of the stock can be determined by looking at the average between the high and low prices for the stock on the day it is given to the council. While placing a value on the stock is your responsibility stock prices are easily obtained, either in the business section of local newspapers, or in business such as the Wall Street Journal.

To see the advantages of a gift of appreciated stock, compare these two situations involving a gift of $11,000 worth of stock, with a $1,000 basis and held for more than one year (capital gains tax payable at 28%).

Stock Sold by Donor

Stock Given to Council
 Tax Owed by Donor = $2,800  Tax Owed by Donor = $0
 Charitable Tax Deduction = $0  Charitable Tax Deduction = $11,000
 Amount of Gift = $8,200  Amount of Gift = $11,000

Call Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer at (610) 926-3406 or contact your financial advisor for more information about using stocks to make a donation to your favorite charities. [Return to the Top.]

The Boomerang Gift - Give It And It Comes Back

Imagine the reactions of some donors when they hear about how they can make a gift to their local council and then get that money back in a few years. "What kind of a gift is that?" "What's the catch?" "What did you say that was called?"

It's the lead trust, and it is essentially the mirror image of the income trusts you hear so much about. You make a gift to the council and for a number of years that you specify, or for your lifetime, the income is paid to the Council. At the end of the trust term, the money or property is returned to you, or given to other family members at a significant tax savings over other ways used to pass property to other generations.

The year the gift is made, you get a sizable charitable tax deduction for your gift. When the gift comes back to you or your family, you receive it tax-free at that time. It's like loaning your council the use of the money for awhile - and you can imagine the benefit to the council, being able to use your gift now, rather than waiting for years!

Contact your financial or legal advisor, Bob Sharetts or Dick Bennett (610-926-3406) for more information about these "boomerang" gifts called lead trusts. A great way to help Scouting, and a great way to make a gift that comes back to you. [Return to the Top.]

Gifts Other Than Cash

If you're considering making a gift to the Council's Endowment Trust Fund, select the type of property best suited to your particular goals.

Making your gift with property that has increased in value (such as stocks) may offer significant tax benefits. Tax-exempt income might also be received if your gift is planned accordingly.

"Unlocking" capital gains - By using appreciated property that produces little income to fund a higher-yielding charitable trust, it is possible to increase your income without incurring capital gains tax at the time your gift plan is created. (Since the gift is not considered a sale, no tax is due on the capital gain portion.)

Income from collectibles - You may own valuable property, such as artwork or collectibles, that produces no income and may be a source of expense. Contributing such items to a charitable gift annuity may allow you to convert them into a source of income.

Income tax benefits vary, but the absence of capital gain's taxes that would be due in the event the property were sold is a benefit to any donor.

Receiving tax-free income - You may be able to receive tax-free income from a life income gift plan.

If your gift is funded with tax-exempt securities and the trustee keeps those assets in the trust, income from the trust will generally retain its tax-exempt nature.

You may alternatively choose to fund your gift with cash, and the trustee may subsequently invest for tax-exempt income.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406 if you are considering using appreciated property to fund a life income gift and/or you would like to receive tax-free income. [Return to the Top.]

Home Is Where The Deduction Is

It is increasingly common for donors to leave their residence, vacation home, or other land to the local council after their lifetime. This is normally done through a bequest in the donor's will. But there is a way to do the same thing, and get a current tax benefit for doing it.

A life estate gift gives you an immediate income tax deduction for promising the local council that it will receive your home or vacation home after your death, and/or the death of your spouse or other family member. You continue to live there and use the property exactly as you do currently, and your use will be undisturbed until the agreed upon time for the council to take possession.

The life estate gift gives you the chance to get a current tax benefit for something you may have been planning to do in your will anyway. Contact Dick Bennett or Bob Sharetts (610-926-3406) for more information about this interesting and helpful way to benefit the Hawk Mountain Council, as well as you and your family.

Many great things have been made possible for Scouting through the use of life estate gifts. Find out for yourself how your house can be more than a home. If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Two Ways To Receive As You Give to Scouting

Adults active in Scouting see every day how the investment of time and energy can pay off in big ways where young lives are concerned.

Likewise, there are ways of making monetary gifts to the Hawk Mountain Council that yield benefits beyond the surface - gifts that give back to you as well as further the goals of the Council.

Two such "life income" giving plans are the BSA Heritage Pooled Income Fund and the Charitable Gift Annuity agreement. Each features payments made to you in exchange for your gift.

Why do we offer opportunities like these? Because giving is as individual as the people who give. No one way of giving suits everyone equally, and Scouting encourages the support of as broad a group of friends as possible.

Many people are delighted to discover that they can give more than they thought when they make use of the pooled income fund or a gift annuity.

In addition to making a gift and receiving payments in return, you also enjoy an immediate income tax deduction when you contribute to the pooled income fund or give for a gift annuity.

The rate of return of either the Pooled Income Fund or Charitable Gift Annuity for retired people is often greater than commercial investment vehicles. And when strengthening the future of Scouting is one of your goals, these plans may help you make a greater contribution than you thought possible.

It all adds up to a stronger and brighter future for you, your loved ones, and the Boy Scouts of America.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406 if you would like to use either of these plans or would like more information. [Return to the Top.]

Looking for Something Special?

The James E. West Fellowship Award is a national recognition for individuals who contribute $1,000 or more in cash or securities to their local council endowment trust fund. The award is named after the first Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America who exemplified Ralph Waldo Emerson's observation that "an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man." Scouting today is the "lengthened shadow" of more than three decades of the farseeing and dedicated leadership of Dr. James E. West.

A James E. West Fellowship is a great way to provide a special recognition. It is also a great way to help assure that Hawk Mountain Council continues to provide an excellent Scouting program well into the 21st century. Currently, there are 40 James E. West Fellows in Hawk Mountain Council.

It could be given in honor of an individual Scout or Scouter, past or present. It could be in honor of a group (departed members, Eagles, a Troop or Pack, a charter partner). It may be funded by an individual, a group of individuals, a number of units, etc. Might your Unit (or someone in your Unit) be interest in this recognition? What do you think of the possibility of a number of Units, or the whole District, getting together to honor someone (Silver Beaver, most senior Scouter in the District, Eagle class for a year, etc.)?

For more information about how you can become a West Fellow, or organize a group to honor someone with the Award, contact Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer, or Dick Bennett, Scout Executive, at (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Your Will and Your Charitable Interests

Statistics show that about 70 percent of the adults in this country do not have a valid will. Those without wills are passing up the chance to distribute their estate according to their wishes, rather than those of the state.

A will can provide many ways for you to benefit your local council, as well as your church, schools, and other worthy organizations. You can leave your council, for example, a percentage of your estate after your family has been taken care of. Or you can designate that a specific amount, or piece of property, be given to the council. Memorial gifts, as well as charitable trusts that generate income for your surviving spouse and other family members are also commonly included in a properly drawn will.

Call Bob Sharetts at 610-926-3406 and request more information about giving to Scouting through your will. There are many ways to make a significant gift to the local council while also protecting your estate for your family and other organizations. Let us know how we can help. [Return to the Top.]

Year-End Giving Reminders

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Giving Thanks Before December 31

The last months of the year traditionally offer a time for review and reflection. It's a time when many of us pause to consider our blessings and give thanks for the good things in our lives.

As part of your financial review, you may want to consider making your charitable gifts in ways that maximize benefits to both you and the interests you wish to support. We trust the ideas presented here will be helpful as you plan now to make the most of your giving.

Maximizing Tax Benefits - While we all enjoy the benefits of services provided through our tax dollars, many would prefer to preserve more of the fruits of their labor for themselves and others of their choosing.

You can reduce the impact of taxes on your income by taking advantage of the savings Congress has provided in the tax law for those who decide to devote a portion of their income or assets to charitable purposes.

If you itemize your deductions, amounts given to qualified charitable recipients can generally be removed, or "deducted," from your income and this freed from the burden of taxation. The higher your tax bracket, the more you save.

Saving by Giving Other Assets - Gifts of certain assets, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that have increased in value, can yield additional tax savings.

As an added benefit, the capital gains tax on assets given for charitable use is avoided entirely - in addition to the regular tax savings realized as a result of the gift. This double tax savings is why many people choose to make their gifts in this way.

Arrange Today to Give Later - Many people also review their comprehensive estate plans at the end of the year. Remember that your will, life insurance, retirement plans, and other planning vehicles can sometimes offer opportunities for meaningful gifts while providing significant gift and estate tax savings.

Act Now for Greatest Benefit - Remember that choosing the right amount to give from your income or assets at the right time can play an important part in meeting your overall financial objectives.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

A First Step Toward Philanthropy

As the saying goes, each journey begins with a single small step. The journey toward becoming a major donor to your local council can also start with a single small step--a gift to the BSA Pooled Income Fund.

A gift to the pooled income fund is simple to make and the gift can be cash or stocks. And, if those stocks have appreciated in value, it makes your cost of making a gift even less. After all, your tax deductions and lifetime income are based on the fair market value of your gifts to the fund.

Your initial step into the fund requires only $5,000 in cash or stocks; additional gifts can be made at any time, with only a $1,000 minimum. Each time you make another gift to the fund, you get more income and another tax deduction.

Your journey toward becoming a major philanthropist is an easy one to make. Call Bob Sharetts at the Council Service Center 610-926-3406 if you would like more information about how the BSA Pooled Income Fund can benefit both your family and Scouting in the local council. And enjoy your journey. [Return to the Top.]

Insure Your Place in Your Council's Future

As you think about what you can do to support Scouting in your local council, don't overlook a gift of life insurance. This is a simple yet effective way to make a sizable gift to your council's endowment, at a very low cost to you, the donor.

Many people contribute paid-up insurance policies they have had for a long time, but don't really need any longer. An even larger number of donors contribute existing policies that are not paid up, and continue to make the premium payments to benefit the council. As a third alternative, an increasing number of donors are creating and contributing new insurance policies that benefit the council.

As long as the council is made both owner and beneficiary of the policy, a gift of life insurance will generate an immediate income tax charitable deduction. This deduction is based on the value of the policy and/or the premiums paid to keep the policy in force. There are many other advantages as well.

Contact Bob Sharetts at the Council Service Center 610-926-3406 about gifts of life insurance. Find out what you can do for the council and what others have done, to ensure their place in our council's financial future. [Return to the Top.]

Planned Giving

Opportunities to Make a Lasting Difference

Friends of Hawk Mountain Council who understand the importance of charitable giving have asked how they can provide for loved ones through estate planning while considering deferred or "planned gifts" for their favorite charities.

Planned giving offers a wide range of options as you consider personal, family and charitable giving goals. Following are answers to commonly asked questions regarding planned giving.

Q. What does the term "planned giving" actually mean?

A. Planned giving refers to a purposeful approach to giving one's assets, typically involving various tax incentives for charitable giving, sometimes resulting in little or no after-tax costs to the giver.

Q. Why do people make planned gifts other than to their heirs? Why do people include charitable giving?

A. The reasons people include a charitable gift in their planning are as many and varied as the givers themselves. While planned giving involves unique charitable reasons, it almost always also involves the belief by the giver that the giver can more effectively direct the use of dollars than various federal bureaucracies would. That is, the giver personally directs these dollars rather than paying them in taxes.

Q. What's the minimum amount in assets someone has to have before considering a planned gift?

A. There's no minimum amount for a planned gift. Even small gifts can be beneficial to a charitable organization. Small amounts of money can be used to purchase larger benefits at a later date through, say, life insurance. Of course, anyone can make a bequest of any amount in a will. Or, a person may designate any contribution, large or small, to be added to the perpetual endowment of a charitable organization. Those charities which have endowments would be delighted to receive such a gift!

Q. Is it true that certain planned giving options have significant tax advantages for the giver or his or her heirs?

A. Yes, most planned gifts do involve some significant tax advantage, such as income tax deductibility. In addition, many planned gifts enjoy other tax advantages, including not only income tax deductibility but also avoidance of capital gains taxes and significant potential reduction in federal estate tax liabilities. Sometimes givers use some of the tax savings to purchase life insurance to replace the value given to the charity and to insure their heirs' potential benefit from the giver's estate is not diminished. This life insurance typically is purchased by an irrevocable life insurance trust, which wouldn't be "includable" in a giver's estate, but is designed to benefit the giver's children.

Q. How does someone get started in planned giving?

A. A good way to start is for a person to contact a charitable organization he or she is interested in benefiting. The person should also contact his or her attorney and tax and financial advisors. Of course, anyone can name a charity as one of his/her beneficiaries in a will or life insurance policy. Planned giving to one's favorite charity is an opportunity that's available to nearly everybody.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Essential Estate Planning Considerations

Ask most people whether protection for their families is one of the highest priorities, and they'll probably answer, "yes" without hesitation. Ask the same people whether they've given any thought to estate planning, and you're likely to hear something much less positive. Yet the two really go hand in hand. Unwittingly, those who ignore estate planning may be putting their family's financial security in jeopardy. Below, we highlight some common mistakes that even the most well-intentioned individuals make.

Thinking estate planning is only for the very wealthy. While it is true that the very rich have more assets to worry about, they're not alone when it comes to the need to do basic estate planning.

Not having a will - or not updating an existing will. The foundation of any estate plan is a will. A will provides for the distribution of your property after death. Without a will, state law will control the distribution of your property.

Having too much, not enough, or the wrong kind of life insurance. There are many types of policies available. Moreover, your needs for life insurance protection will change as your financial situation does. A crucial estate planning step is to evaluate your life insurance needs in detail.

Leaving everything to a spouse. Many married couples hold most of their assets in joint name with right of survivorship. This form of ownership means that when one spouse dies, the other automatically takes title. While this arrangement is convenient, it also is very limiting from a planning perspective. Arranging for the property to pass to a trust that benefits your spouse may be wise.

Estate taxes pose another problem. When your spouse dies, whatever is left of your property will be included in your spouse's estate and could be substantially reduced by estate taxes. Up-front planning, while you both are alive, can help avoid or minimize these taxes.

Not taking steps to protect a business from estate taxes. If you own a business, you have additional incentive to get involved in estate planning. To ensure your family's security and the continuing viability of the business, it's essential that you arrange for transfer of ownership and for payment of any estate taxes that may be due.

Don't make the biggest mistake of all - procrastination. Hopefully, you'll be around a lot longer. But, just in case, realize that your family's needs won't simply disappear once you're gone. Take some time now to make sure your affairs are in order.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Earl Moyer - Council's First James E. West Fellow

Earl Moyer is a dedicated, long-time Scouter. Over the years he has served as Scoutmaster (30 years), as District Training Committee Chairman, has been active with Order of Arrow Lodge (45 years) and served as Lodge Advisor (9 years).

Earl, and his wife, Shirley, live in Mt. Penn. He worked for Textile Machine Works, which later became Rockwell for his entire career. Starting in tool design, he became the plant engineer, retiring in 1986.

It is not surprising that Earl became the first James E. West Fellow recipient in the Hawk Mountain Council on September 1, 1993, the day the Fellowship was announced by the National Council!

The James E. West Fellowship is a nationally sponsored program recognizing individuals who contribute $1,000 or more in cash or securities. The contributions go directly to the Hawk Mountain Council Endowment Fund, to help assure that Scouting will be available for future generations.

Recently the Herbie Hawk News interviewed Earl about his feelings regarding the James E. West Fellowship and Scouting.

HH - Our readers would be interested in knowing about the special circumstances involved with your becoming a James E. West Fellow.

EM - The James E. West Fellowship was given to me as an award from my many friends in Scouting, Wood Badge members and Members of the Council Staff. It was a surprise and the greatest honor I have ever received.

Believe me, if I had not received it, I would have joined anyway because I feel that a strong Endowment Trust Fund is important for the Hawk Mountain Council. I believe that we Scouters who are here today have a responsibility to assure that our Council will be financially healthy in the future. Young people 50 years from now have a right to the same opportunities that we had thanks to the dedicated Scouters who preceded us. I feel this is a legacy that today's Scouters have.

I would also add that the James E. West Fellowship should not be our only contribution to the Endowment Fund. Almost everyone has capability of some kind of a Planned Gift, be it a bequest through their will, or a gift during their lifetime.

HH - You have been involved with Scouting for 56 years - that's a long time. How do you respond when people ask you why?

EM - I was a Scout as a boy, and liked it. I achieved Life rank. When I became a leader, I challenged the boys in my troop to beat me, and become Eagles. I have been, and still am interested in young people; in helping them become the best they can be. I believe the Boy Scout program is especially valuable in helping young people develop strong, positive character and leadership skills. The emphasis on God and Country is, in my opinion, very important.

HH - What do you tell young people about the benefits of being a Boy Scout?

EM - First, I always emphasize that they will have fun. Then I tell them about the outdoor skills, and how they will learn to become more self-sufficient.

After they get involved, I know they will learn planning, leadership and have experiences that will be recalled for a life time.

HH - You've had many great experiences during your Scouting involvement. Which one stands out?

EM - That's difficult to say. There have been so many. Certainly, as I said before, receiving the James E. West Fellowship was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Other especially memorable things include receiving the Vigil Honor from the Order of the Arrow and my 4 beads from Wood Badge. Frequently some of my former Scouts bring their children to meet their "old" Scoutmaster. This is always a thrill which I also feel is an honor.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

The Council Pays Me Money?

It comes as quite a surprise to many donors that, after all these years of making gifts to the council, there is now a way for them to get back money from the council. It is a common type of a gift called gift annuity that makes this possible for you and other donors.

The gift annuity is simply a contract between you and the council. You give the council a gift of cash, stocks, land, bonds, or any number of other items of property. In return, the council agrees to pay you a guaranteed annual annuity for the rest of your life. If you are married, the annuity can also be paid to your spouse for life as well. The annuity amount depends on your age -- the older you are, the larger the annuity you will receive each year.

In addition to the annual income (part of which is tax free, by the way!), you also receive an income tax charitable deduction the year you make the gift annuity. Your gift to the council can be large or small, and the gift annuity is very simple to create.

If you would like more information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]


The night sky is clear and bright with stars as you sit in front of the embers of a dying fire. The Scouts and other dads have turned in for the night, leaving you alone with your thoughts. You have been with the Scouting program for a long time now and have seen the difference it can make in the lives of boys and families. Your thoughts now turn to what Scouting will be like in the future.

The answer is as clear as the night sky. With thoughtful planning and commitment to the future of Scouting on your part and on the part of the hundreds of other Scouting families, our programs can only grow and prosper.

One way that you and your family can remember Scouting is by naming the trust fund of the Hawk Mountain Council as a beneficiary in your will.

This generous gift can take several forms. You can leave a specific item or amount of cash to the trust. A residual bequest, on the other hand, gives the part of the estate to the council that remains after other specific and general bequests have been distributed, or you may simply leave a percentage of your estate to Scouting.

If you feel that a bequest to Scouting is a good idea and would like further information, contact your financial or legal advisor or Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer (610)-926-3406. [Return to the Top.]

Where Will 80 Percent of Your IRA Go?

For many people the answer to that question may be to the government in the form of taxes. Depending on your tax bracket or that of your heirs, that can be as much as 80 percent. Your IRA assets may be hit by both estate tax and income tax at the federal and state levels.

The 90-90-90 Rule

According to a recent study, 90 percent of all people 90 years of age still have 90 percent of their original IRA plan balance. How can this happen, you ask? Very few people receive withdrawals from their plans until the mandatory period after age 70 1/2. Some 88 percent of individuals after that age make only minimum withdrawals of 5 1/2 percent to 6 percent. At the same time, the plan continues to grow at 8 percent or 9 percent annually. Individuals in their late 70s or even age 80 have plans that are still growing. After age 80, as withdrawal amounts increase the principal eventually begins to be reduced.

So you may have a very large asset in your estate and yet be unable to pass most of it on to your heirs. One solution may be to include your IRA in part of your deferred charitable giving. By naming a charity (such as your local council) the beneficiary of your retirement plan, you reduce the loss of the asset through estate and income taxes. You can then use other assets to pass on to your children and grandchildren with much less tax loss.

For more information on gifts of IRA's, contact Bob Sharetts, Council Development Officer at 610-926-3406 or read other columns here on our web site. [Return to the Top.]

For more information contact your Council Service Center