Life insurance is a tool with many purposes. Perhaps when your children were young, you purchased policies to provide them with financial protection. But if your situation has changed, you might be interested in one of the more satisfying uses for life insurance you no longer need—donating it to the American Museum of Natural History.
You can make a significant gift even if your means are limited today. By making small premium payments each year, you can leave a sizable gift.
For existing policies, you may receive an income tax charitable deduction if you itemize. For a new policy, with the American Museum of Natural History as owner and beneficiary, premiums may be deductible.
Secure and Confidential
Life insurance is a contract and can’t be changed by heirs. If you make the American Museum of Natural History policy owner and beneficiary, it’s not included in probate and remains confidential.
Helpful to Our Mission
Life insurance gives you a low cost option to make a gift, helping you to make a bigger impact on our work than you may have thought possible.
When you name the Museum as the policy owner and beneficiary, you qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction for the lower of the policy’s fair market value or your cost basis. For paid-up insurance, the fair market value is the cost of replacing the coverage with a new policy issued today based on the current age of the insured at the same face amount as the original policy.
If premiums are still payable on the policy, the fair market value is usually close to the cash surrender value. You may stipulate to us that you wish to no longer make future premium payments, allowing us to access the surrender value immediately for our cash needs.
An alternative, however, may be even more attractive. The policy can remain ours and will stay in force so that someday we receive the original face amount. You pledge to make yearly cash gifts to the Museum, which we will use to pay the premiums. The gifts are deductible if you itemize, and the policy is thereby kept in force with pre-tax instead of after-tax dollars for a lower actual cost.
If you would rather retain ownership of a policy for your own financial security or that of others, you have the following options:
In most states, you can enter into a new insurance contract with a qualified organization such as the Museum as the beneficiary and owner of the policy.
When considering any of these charitable arrangements, it is critical to have a skilled planning team with expertise in finance, law, taxes, and life insurance. We would be happy to answer any questions regarding charitable giving that you or your advisors may have. Feel free to contact us at no obligation.
Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. California residents: Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. Oklahoma residents: A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. South Dakota residents: Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance. A copy of our most recently filed financial report is available on our website (https://www.amnh.org/about/financial-statements) or, upon request, by contacting us at 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024.