A gift of life insurance that you no longer need can be an easy way for you to provide generous support to the American Red Cross.
A gift of life insurance could be right for you if:
- Your life insurance policy is paid up or has substantial cash value.
- You have no loan outstanding against the policy.
- Your family is well-provided for by other means.
- You would like to make a gift to the Red Cross.
How it works
Option 1: You give your policy to the Red Cross.
As the policy owner, the Red Cross will either cash in your policy and use the proceeds, or maintain the policy until it ends and then receive its face amount. Your benefits will include:
- An immediate income tax charitable deduction for the value of your policy.
- No change in your cash flow.
- The satisfaction of making a generous gift to the Red Cross.
Option 2: You designate the American Red Cross as a beneficiary of your policy.
When your policy ends, the Red Cross will receive some or all of your policy's death benefit, as you have designated. Your benefits will include:
- The death benefit of your policy will not be included in your estate, which may save estate tax if your estate exceeds the applicable exemption amount.
- No change in your cash flow.
- The satisfaction of making a generous gift to the Red Cross
This option offers the additional benefit that you can change your mind about your gift at any time should circumstances in your life change.
Your life insurance may have a new purpose to serve
You may have purchased a life insurance policy years ago when you wanted to protect your family from financial hardship in case of your untimely passing. Now that your children are grown and independent, your mortgage is paid off, and you have accumulated sufficient assets in your estate to pass on to your family, you may no longer need your life insurance policy for its financial protection.
If this is your situation, consider making a gift of your life insurance policy to the American Red Cross. The value of your policy can provide generous support to our mission without affecting your cash flow.
Give a paid-up life insurance policy
A paid-up life insurance policy is a policy that will stay in force without any additional premium payments. A paid-up life insurance policy is a valuable asset and makes an excellent gift.
When you give your paid-up insurance policy to us, we will either cash in the policy immediately and use the proceeds, or maintain the policy until maturity and receive the death benefit of the policy.
Because this kind of gift is irrevocable, you will receive an income tax charitable deduction for the value of your gift at the time you transfer your policy to us, providing tax savings if you itemize. You will also remove your insurance from your estate, potentially saving estate taxes, as well.
In order to make your gift, you must assign the Red Cross all ownership rights to your policy and make the Red Cross the irrevocable designated beneficiary of the policy. Usually this can be accomplished by completing a simple form from your insurance provider. Be sure to identify us as: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 75156 Washington, DC 20013-7515, Federal Tax Identification Number: 53-0196605
Make the Red Cross a designated beneficiary of your policy
Another great way to make a gift to us with your life insurance policy is to make the Red Cross a designated beneficiary of your policy. When your insurance reaches maturity, we will receive the amount or proportion you designate. You can change your designation at any time, giving you the flexibility to revise your gift for any reason.
Because your gift is revocable, you do not receive an income tax charitable deduction at the time you create the designation. Rather, your estate will receive an estate tax deduction for the amount your insurance policy distributes to us if your estate is subject to tax.
It is very easy to make the Red Cross a designated beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Simply contact your insurance agent to make a change on your policy's beneficiary designation form. Be sure to identify us as: American Red Cross, P.O. Box 75156 Washington, DC 20013-7515, Federal Tax Identification Number: 53-0196605
Loan against policy will create taxable income
If you give a life insurance policy on which you have an outstanding unpaid loan, you will be considered to have sold your policy for the amount of the unpaid loan. As a result, you will have to declare a portion of the loan as taxable income. You may want to pay off your loan prior to making your gift in this case.
If you plan to designate the Red Cross as a revocable beneficiary of your policy, the existence of an unpaid loan against your policy will not affect your tax picture.
A few states will not allow you to give life insurance to a charity
For your gift of life insurance to be valid, your state of residence must consider a charity to have an "insurable interest" in your policy. Most states do, but verify that this is true in your state before you make your gift.
Jacqueline Cook bought a $250,000 life insurance policy on her own life shortly after the birth of the first of her four children. Her policy has been paid-up for years and her children, who are now in their 40s and 50s, no longer need the financial protection the policy provides. The cash value of her policy is now over $90,000, and she's paid $75,000 in premiums.
Jacqueline has enjoyed a relationship of many years with the Red Cross, and would like to honor their relationship with a significant gift. However, she has been reluctant to use her liquid assets to make the gift. When Jacqueline learns that her policy can be put to a new and productive use, she is delighted. She arranges with her insurance agent to donate her policy.
- Jacqueline will earn an immediate income tax charitable deduction of approximately $75,000, providing tax savings if she itemizes.
- Her $250,000 death benefit will not be included in her estate.
- She has the satisfaction of making a generous gift to The American Red Cross without reducing her income level.
- As the policy owner, the Red Cross can either cash in the policy and have over $90,000 to work with immediately, or hold the policy and receive $250,000 as a legacy gift from Jacqueline.