Planned Giving: An Investment for the Future

To fund its important programs, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) depends heavily on private contributions from caring individuals. And every year, more of these donors are discovering the benefits of supporting the NKF through their estate plans.

These donations (often called planned gifts) can offer many advantages:

  • Reduce estate taxes
  • Provide a life income stream
  • Allow you to make a much larger gift than you thought possible
  • Receive a current income tax deduction
  • Reduce or avoid capital gains tax
  • Support the vital work of the NKF

If you have not yet included the NKF in your estate plans, the following are some of the most popular methods to accomplish that. If you have questions or would like more information, Please contact Anthony Gucciardo at 1-800-622-9010 ext. 205.

"I view planned gifts a bit like organ donation--leaving some part of you that can improve or even save the lives of others after you're gone. If we stop to think of it, most of us have benefited from gifts left by others who were thinking beyond their own welfare and lifetimes."

Ron DeGolier
Development Officer
Kenosha, Wisconsin

Click on a title below to get a brief explanation.


One of the most common ways to remember the NKF and help us carry on our programs is to leave a bequest through your will. The following is suggested language to use in wills and a variety of other estate planning tools - feel free to print this and take it to your attorney when you are discussing your estate plans.


I give and bequeath the sum of $ ________ (or ________% of my estate) to the National Kidney Foundation (affiliate name and address) to be used for its general purposes.

You may also give a particular asset ("my shares of XYZ stock…") or a portion of the residue of your estate after other bequests have been paid ("50% of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate…").


There are many different types of trusts that can serve a variety of purposes. It would be impossible to give even a brief explanation of the many types of trusts in this information. The advice of an attorney and qualified financial planner is necessary to assess your situation and decide which trust might best serve your goals. Please know, however that it is easy to include a gift to the NKF through your trust by using the language set forth above.

Also, there are trusts (called Charitable Remainder Trusts) that can provide you or your loved ones with a life income stream while also providing a gift to support the programs of the NKF. Please check with your financial advisor to determine what is best for your situation.


Life insurance can be a valuable tool in estate planning. By naming beneficiaries on policies, the proceeds can be paid directly to that person or organization without having to go through the probate process. Another option is to make the proceeds payable to a person’s estate so it can be included in the total when specific or percentage bequests are made.

Life insurance also offers a wonderful way to make a charitable gift. It is possible to make gifts with "paid-up" policies, policies with premiums still due, policies where you can retain the right to a policy’s cash value, or by assigning the dividends in a participating policy. Check with your agent to see which option would be best for you.


The NKF has a charitable gift annuity program that can provide you with payments for the rest of your life, while ultimately making a gift to support vital programs helping those affected by kidney disease. Please see the Gift Annuity page of this web site for a detailed explanation of this program.


This estate planning tool can be an effective way to quickly transfer assets, such as bank accounts, to a beneficiary because it avoids that asset going through the probate process. It also allows you to change the beneficiary at any time.

When establishing the account, tell your banking representative that you wish it to be a Pay on Death account (some banks may call these Transfer on Death accounts). They will ask you for the name of the person or charitable organization you wish to receive the property upon your death.


While a gift of securities is not strictly an estate planning tool, there are advantages to this type of donation that have allowed many donors to make gifts that will live on after they are gone.

If you have owned stock for at least one year that has increased in value, you can donate that stock to a charitable organization without having to pay capital gains tax on the increase. Additionally there is an income tax charitable deduction equal to the full current market value of the securities (up to 30 percent of the donor’s adjusted gross income). Using appreciated stock to fund a gift annuity offers added tax benefits to that gift.

NOTE: In order to receive the most favorable tax treatment, you must donate the securities to the NKF - you cannot sell the stock and donate the proceeds. If you would like more information on how to make this transfer, please contact us.


With the increase in the variety of retirement plan assets that people own, an important aspect of your estate planning should be making sure that the money invested in these accounts goes to the people or organizations you wish to receive them.

Examples of these different retirement plans include IRAs, pension plans, Keogh and 401(K) accounts. While a detailed explanation of the tax ramifications of leaving these to your beneficiaries through a will or trust or by designation is impossible in this information, please be aware that proceeds from these plans may be taxed up to 70 percent of their value if proper planning is not done!

If you are contemplating a charitable gift in your estate plans, using assets such as those in retirement plans can maximize your donation while allowing other property that is not subject to some taxes to be passed to your beneficiaries. Consult your financial advisor to see what is best for your particular estate plan.

Regardless of the size of your estate, proper estate planning is important to ensure that those assets you have spent a lifetime accumulating are distributed according to your wishes.

Become a Member of the National Kidney Foundation's Heritage Club

We are proud to extend an invitation to join our Heritage Club to those who notify us of their commitment to include the NKF in their estate plans. The Heritage Club was created to recognize and thank all donors who make long-range plans to provide future financial resources for the National Kidney Foundation.

"We revised our will recently to include a provision for the National Kidney Foundation. It was a natural decision since we've invested so much of our time volunteering for the NKF. After providing for our children and our church, we certainly would like to know that our efforts and the work of the Foundation will continue after we're gone."

Pat and John Wilson
parents of kidney transplant recipient
President and CEO, Conwood Company LP
Memphis, Tennessee

In a very real sense, Heritage Club members can be considered a group of investors - people who have, through their estate plans, invested in the Foundation's future. We want to acknowledge and thank these supporters for their generosity.

Many other people have included the Foundation in their estate plans without telling us. Surprises are always nice, but by informing us of your decision, we are better able to plan for the future. Plus, we appreciate the opportunity to express our gratitude and welcome new members to the Heritage Club. Naturally, those choosing to remain anonymous will have their feelings respected.

If you have already named the National Kidney Foundation as a beneficiary of your will, trust, retirement plan, life insurance policy, life income gift or other type of planned giving arrangement, please contact us to to let us know of your generosity. We will be happy to forward the appropriate paperwork to you for membership in the Heritage Club.

The above information offers a brief summary of some estate planning techniques and is intended to be of a general character only. The services of qualified legal counsel or a financial planner should be sought for specific advice pertaining to your estate plan.