The Fine Arts Museums have served our community for more than a century, and we are dedicated to fulfilling our important mission for the benefit of generations to come. This commitment is supported each year by many thoughtful and forward-thinking individuals who give through their estates. Estate planning offers donors the opportunity to transform a love of art into a lasting cultural legacy for the Museums and the community.
The Museums offer a variety of tools for informed decision-making and numerous gift options that can fulfill your personal and financial goals.
Please contact us at the information provided at the bottom of this page with any questions.
As you create or revise your estate plan, we encourage you to remember that you do not have to be wealthy to leave a legacy. Regardless of the size, your gift to the Museums will help to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the exhibitions and programming that you value today.
We can also provide you with tax and income calculations tailored to your particular situation. While these calculations are intended for informational purposes only, they will help you and your advisors make knowledgeable decisions about the planned giving vehicles that might best meet your financial and philanthropic objectives. Please contact us directly for a confidential and completely personalized analysis.
One of the most common ways to support the Fine Arts Museums through a planned gift is by making a charitable bequest in your will or living trust. It is not necessary to rewrite your current documents—simply add an amendment, called a codicil, to your will or living trust.
Suggested language for such a codicil is provided below for you and your attorney to review:
“I give devise and bequeath to the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums, DBA the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (tax I.D. 94-3045948), located in San Francisco, California, the sum of _________ dollars ($_________ ) OR _________ percent ( _____%) of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate OR the following described property: _________ for the benefit of its general purposes (or specify the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco program you wish to support).”
Your bequest remains entirely under your control throughout your lifetime and becomes irrevocable only at death.
A gift annuity is simple to create. You fund your annuity with a gift of cash or stock, and are then paid a guaranteed fixed amount monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually for life.
In the right circumstances, the establishment of a charitable trust can increase your income and lower your taxes, as well as provide very important support for the Fine Arts Museums.
Any asset that you place in a charitable trust—cash, stock, or real estate—is invested by the trustee to provide you with income for the rest of your life and, if you wish, continue to provide revenue to your heirs, either for their lifetimes or for a term of years. After the death of all income beneficiaries, what remains in the trust passes to the Museums. The creation of a charitable trust may provide you with some important tax benefits:
- An immediate income-tax deduction for a percentage of your gift. We will be happy to give you an idea of the size of your deduction. We simply need to know the ages of the income beneficiary(ies) and the payout rate of the trust.
- No tax on the sale of appreciated property. From the donor's point of view, this is often the most important tax benefit. Sometimes thousands of dollars that would have gone to capital-gains taxes remain in the trust, generating income to the income beneficiaries.
- The trust principal is not subject to estate tax. Property that might otherwise be subject to federal estate tax, which can be has high as 45%, is preserved from estate tax entirely.
There are two basic types of charitable remainder trusts. An annuity trust will pay you a fixed dollar amount for the rest of your life. A unitrust will pay you a fixed percentage of the trust principal each year, so if the value of the trust principal increases over time, your income increases with it. By law, your trust must pay you at least five percent of principal annually. You may choose a higher payout rate if you wish, but the higher the payout rate the lower your income-tax deduction on the charitable contribution. Also, selecting the highest rate possible may not work in your best interests for another reason. If the trust principal declines under the strain of meeting the higher rate, your income will decline with it. On the other hand, a lower payout rate may allow the principal to grow, and your income to grow with it. Additions may be made to a unitrust at any time, but you can contribute to an annuity trust only once.
Please contact our office for additional ways that the establishment of a charitable trust can benefit your heirs while also supporting the Fine Arts Museums.
Retirement Plan Assets
- A designation in your IRA or other retirement plan may be a very cost-effective way of making a gift to the Fine Arts Museums. Most retirement plans let you decide what should become of your assets in the event of your passing. They do this by asking you to designate beneficiaries.
- If left to anyone other than a spouse, retirement account assets may be subject to significant taxation. However, by designating the Museums as the recipient of any benefits that are remaining in your retirement plan, you may effectively reduce taxes on those assets.
Gifts of Real Estate
You can give your home to the Fine Arts Museums and keep it, too. A charitable life estate agreement allows you to donate a personal residence while retaining the right to live there for life.
Donors who enter such an agreement receive an immediate income-tax deduction based on the present value of the home, discounted by the estimated length of time the charity must wait to receive the donated property; simply put, and all other things being equal, a 70-year-old will receive a larger deduction than a 50-year-old. Care and upkeep of the home, including maintenance, property taxes, and insurance, remain the donor’s responsibility. The major benefits to the donor are continued use of the home, an immediate charitable income-tax deduction, and the satisfaction of making a substantial gift to the Fine Arts Museums during his or her lifetime. Probate and estate tax benefits may also apply.
If you have already remembered the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in your estate plan, we would be honored to enroll you in our Legacy Society. Please complete this form to officially join the Legacy Society and share optional information about your legacy gift.
For more information about the Legacy Society, or about how estate planning might work for you, please contact us.
Gifts of Art
Artwork is a form of tangible personal property that may be donated to the Fine Arts Museums. In addition to outright gifts, we welcome bequests and promised gifts of art.
The Museums’ curatorial departments and trustees give very careful consideration to such gifts before they may be accepted.
Director of Major Giving
Written inquiries may be sent to:
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118