A lasting way to provide for the protection of Minnesota’s extraordinary natural beauty is to include the Minnesota Land Trust in your estate plans.
The Minnesota Land Trust received its first bequest from the estate of Michael Meunier, whose passion for the outdoors was cut short when he died in 1997 at the age of 47. We launched the Land Trust Legacy Society in his memory and as a celebration of his love for Minnesota’s beautiful lands. Please join others who have demonstrated their commitment to Minnesota’s future and become a member of the Land Trust Legacy Society.
An estate is any property, money or personal belongings that you may have at the time of your death. Most people leave an estate when they die, even though they may not have a great deal of wealth. You can arrange to make a gift from your estate in several different ways:
- You can set aside a specific amount, such as a cash gift;
- You can leave a percentage of your estate;
- You can leave assets such as real estate, art, jewelry, qualified retirement plans, paid life insurance policies, or other financial investments such as stocks or bonds.
Your attorney and other professional advisors can help you consider the range of options based on your situation.
Land and Real Estate
The Minnesota Land Trust can often use gifts of real estate to further its mission of permanent land protection. If you would like to donate land or other real estate to the Minnesota Land Trust through your will, we encourage you to consider giving us the flexibility to accept the property without restrictions. Also, we request that you talk with us before deciding to do this.
Gifts of a Qualified Retirement Plan
Assets in qualified (tax-deferred) retirement plans may represent a large portion of your total assets and therefore may be an important factor in planning testamentary charitable gifts. Retirement assets generally considered suitable for charitable gifts include such plans as IRAs, Keoghs, SEPs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and ESOPs.
As a general rule, if you intend to make both non-charitable and charitable gifts at death, it makes sense to consider using your tax-deferred retirement plan assets for charity (the Minnesota Land Trust is a tax-exempt institution) and other assets for heirs.
Life Insurance Policies
Naming the Minnesota Land Trust as the beneficiary of an existing life insurance policy offers a simple way to support conservation. Since you are the policy owner, the value of the policy will be included in your estate. You may also be able to assign an existing whole life policy to the Minnesota Land Trust, irrevocably making the Minnesota Land Trust the owner and beneficiary. If the policy is not paid up and additional premium payments are due, you may donate cash or the equivalent to the Minnesota Land Trust to pay the premiums each year. Lastly, you may be able to purchase a new policy naming the Minnesota Land Trust as owner and beneficiary, and pay the annual premiums (through the Minnesota Land Trust). These options all may present a charitable tax deduction depending upon the current tax laws. Please consult with a professional tax advisor.
If you donate your land but keep a life estate, you retain ownership and use of the land for the remainder of your life. Upon your death, ownership will be transferred to the Minnesota Land Trust. If you’re interested in leaving your land in this manner, please contact us so that we can discuss your conservation goals for the land.
Sample language for including the Minnesota Land Trust in your will:
Please note that our legal name is “Minnesota Land Trust.” The Minnesota Land Trust is a non-profit corporation, organized under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Our federal identification number is 41-1713652.
The following examples are intended only as suggestions for how you might word your will:
Specific Dollar Amount:
I give to the Minnesota Land Trust, located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the sum of $______ to be used wherever the need is greatest.
Specific Real Estate:
I hereby give, devise and bequeath to the Minnesota Land Trust, a nonprofit corporation, organized and existing under the laws of the State of Minnesota, all of that certain piece, parcel or lot of land owned by me and situated and being in the Town of _______ and more particularly described as follows: [insert full legal description of property]
Portion of Estate:
I give to the Minnesota Land Trust, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, ______% of my estate and request that this gift be used wherever the need is greatest.
Residual Estate (after other bequests are named):
I give to the Minnesota Land Trust, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, the rest and residue of my estate and request that this gift be used wherever the need is greatest.
Again, these are only examples of how you might word the language in your will; there are numerous other gifts from your estate, such as personal property, which will be worded differently. Please consult an attorney when crafting your will.
The contents of this page are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for legal, tax, or financial planning advice. The Minnesota Land Trust urges you to consult a professional trained in handling trusts and estates when considering any of these planned giving options.