For questions or more information on any of these financial planning and gift intruments, please contact Tom West, Sr. Vice President, Advancement, at 323.856.7680 or
Learn how to help others and the American Film Institute by using one of the most popular and simplest ways to make a gift. The official bequest language to include AFI in your will is:
"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to the American Film Institute [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."
Continue supporting our work even after your lifetime by naming us as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, life insurance or insurance annuity assets.
IRA and Retirement Plan Beneficiaries
Most retirement plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs, are income tax-deferred, meaning that income tax is not paid until the funds are distributed to you in life, or upon your death. This taxation makes retirement assets among the most costly assets to distribute to loved ones.
Because they are subject to income taxes to your beneficiaries, retirement assets make ideal gifts to tax-exempt charitable organizations. Otherwise, the income taxes on retirement assets you leave to your loved ones can be as high as 35 percent. This means that an IRA worth $100,000 will be worth only $65,000 by the time it reaches your heirs.
Naming a charity as the beneficiary of retirement assets upon death generates no income taxes. The charity is tax-exempt and eligible to receive the full amount and bypass any income taxes. This means that in the above example, the American Film Institute would receive the full $100,000 benefit.
Life Insurance Policy Beneficiaries
Life insurance is a low-cost method to provide a large contribution to AFI. Life insurance proceeds are almost always income tax-free to the beneficiary. The beneficiary designation in your life insurance policy determines where the proceeds will be distributed. The death proceeds, therefore, are not typically transferred through your will. Life insurance can be distributed to a charitable organization such as the American Film Institute, if we are named as a beneficiary of the policy at the time of your death.
Insurance Annuity Beneficiaries
Insurance annuities, unlike life insurance, carry an income tax burden. Your named beneficiary is responsible for paying the income tax due on the growth of the annuity while you owned it. The tax burden makes these assets a popular choice to leave to a charitable organization like AFI because we, as the recipient, can eliminate the tax bill.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
In the right circumstances, this plan can increase your income, reduce your taxes, unlock appreciated investments, rid you of investment worries and ultimately provide very important support. With a charitable remainder trust, you can receive income each year for the rest of your life from assets you give to the trust you create. Your income can be either variable or a fixed amount. After your lifetime, the balance in the trust goes to the charities of your choice.
Memorial and Honorary Gifts
If you have a family member or friend whose life has been touched by the American Film Institute, consider making a gift to AFI in honor of that person. Providing a gift establishes a living tribute that allows you to:
- Honor a loved one or yourself
- Support our continuing efforts
- Receive personal financial benefits from your contribution.
Charitable Lead Trusts
Make a donation now while reducing the tax burden for your heirs in the future. You give assets to a trust that pays the American Film Institute an income for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings for you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to your family or other beneficiaries you select.
This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members down the line (typically children and grandchildren) at a minimal tax cost. This type of charitable lead trust (also called a non-grantor, or family lead, trust) is especially appealing to AFI supporters who are financially comfortable enough that they can forgo investment income on some assets.