Leave a Legacy

Our donors are very important to us. They keep us operating; they enable us to run the library, our community outreach programs, educational events, oral history interviews and more. Without our donors we cannot function.

But our need for funds is ongoing. And we have “dream” projects that we’d like to undertake some day. You may have assets that can help us help writers into the future, while at the same time benefiting yourself.

You can help provide a legacy for future generations. . .

• A heritage and history, lovingly preserved
• Inspiration for writers, young and old
• Opening doors for young people
• Greater visibility for writers in the community
• A treasury of resources for writers and students
• Writers giving back

If these things are important to you, then you can make a gift that ensures they continue, long into the future…


Cash: Of course.

Stock/Securities: Note that if you donate appreciated stock, you can gain a tax deduction and avoid capital gains tax.

Life Insurance: You can donate a life insurance policy or make the Writers Guild Foundation a beneficiary.

Personal property, including real estate: In addition to leaving property in your will or trust, you can donate property to the Writers Guild Foundation now, and continue to live in it.

Intangible gifts, e.g. rights to residuals or royalties. Did you know that you can donate your residuals to the Writers Guild Foundation?

Outright gifts such as these provide ongoing and immediate support to the Foundation’s work and may provide you, the donor, with tax deductions and possibly other savings, depending on your individual circumstance.


You might not be able to make a large gift now, but you may well be able to make a deferred gift. The most common planned or deferred gift is a bequest in your will or trust. A bequest may allow you to contribute much more than you might have felt able to do in your lifetime, while simultaneously giving you an opportunity to reduce the tax liability of your estate. If your estate, including your home and personal property, is worth more than a designated amount ($3.5 million in 2009 – check with the IRS for the most recent provisions) it may be liable for substantial taxes. A bequest to the Foundation or another charity may reduce estate tax liability to your family and other heirs.


Three of the most common ways to arrange a bequest are:

Outright bequest: You can leave a specific dollar amount, specific items of tangible or intangible property or a fraction/proportion of your estate to the Foundation. You can also leave royalties or residuals to the Foundation.

Residue: You might decide that the Writers Guild Foundation is to receive the remainder of your estate once all other beneficiaries have received their specific gifts.

Contingency: The Foundation only benefits from your bequest after the lifetime of a family member or after a specific event has occurred; for instance, after a child or other individual has completed his/her education or has married.

Your IRA or 401 (k): Unless you have a surviving spouse to inherit your IRA, these funds are subject to heavy taxes, and in some cases can be diminished by up to 80%. This can be avoided if you leave your IRA or 401 (k) to the Writers Guild Foundation, or if you make the Foundation a beneficiary of your plan.

A note about wording: Should you decide that you would like to make a bequest to the Writers Guild Foundation, you should designate your gift in favor of “The Writers Guild Foundation, located at 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048.” The correct name of the charity is most important.


Other deferred gifts:

Another type of deferred gift is a charitable remainder trust. Under this arrangement you place a sum of money in a trust, which provides interest income for you or a beneficiary for your or his/her lifetime, with the capital going to the Foundation after your or your beneficiary’s death. This type of gift is particularly suitable for large appreciated investments which you have owned for more than 12 months and which are likely to be subject to a high capital gains tax. The interest rate is generally higher than that available from a bank, particularly if you are older.

There are other kinds of trusts available, too. A charitable lead trust allows you to designate a charity to receive a regular fixed amount from a trust for a specific period or for the lifetime of a particular person. At the end of that time the remainder of the trust passes to your designated heirs or other non-charitable beneficiaries.

Whatever you decide, however, good estate planning is essential. You need to do all you can to minimize the burdens on your heirs and maximize the potential of your estate. Please note that this page is not intended to take the place of professional advice, which we recommend that you obtain from a lawyer or accountant with expertise in taxation and estate matters.

If you are interested in making a planned gift or in setting up a trust to benefit the Foundation, please contact our Development Director, Mary McGuire at mmcguire@wga.org.