You can support Bay Area Legal Services through a beneficiary designation. The life insurance policy (or a portion of it) that you purchased years ago may no longer be needed. You may want to use your investment account during your lifetime and donate the remaining balance without going through probate. Consider naming BALS as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, a deferred annuity, an IRA, a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k), a bank account, or an investment account. The designations are revocable until your death.
These gifts are easy to arrange and in many cases, you may designate a specific amount or percentage. Simply obtain a beneficiary designation form from your insurance or financial services company. If you are using a group life insurance policy, request the form from your benefits office.
Once you have the form, list your beneficiaries according to your wishes. Your death benefits will go to your primary beneficiaries, according to the percentage you assign. You may also list secondary beneficiaries, who will receive the death benefits only if there are no surviving primary beneficiaries.
Another simple way to donate to BALS - while skipping probate - is by designating an account with an investment firm, a bank, or a credit union to pay BALS upon your death. With an investment account, the designation is usually “Transfer on Death” (e.g., Your Name TOD Bay Area Legal Services, Inc.). On an account with a bank or credit union, you would use the designation “Payable on Death” or “In Trust For.” Under these arrangements, you retain full control of your account during your lifetime, and through the lifetime of all other account owners. Upon the death of the last account owner, the remaining assets pass to the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) without going through probate.
Ask your banker or stockbroker for the forms to change the title on your account and designate BALS as a beneficiary.
BALS makes no claims regarding the accuracy of the above information or the tax consequences if you rely on it. Please consult with your tax, legal, or financial planning advisor.