A Bequest in Your Will Can Turn Truth Loose in the World

The Commonwealth Club seeks bequests to continue its mission, described by our founder, Edward F. Adams, in 1903: "We only propose to find truth and turn it loose in the world." Can you think of a time when this mission was more urgent than now?

Adding a bequest to The Commonwealth Club in your will makes sense if you value:

  • The informed and open debate of public issues
  • The spread of that debate through radio, television and the Internet
  • Access to the debate through affordable Club membership and Club events

Your gift options range from a simple bequest to a charitable trust or gift annuity that brings you immediate tax and income benefits.

Join the Legacy Circle Now!

Members of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Club have included the Club in their estate plans and are encouraging others to do the same. The Board's goal: to have funds to supplement the Club's annual budget to ensure the Club meets its long-term objectives. They invite you to join with them in becoming members of the Commonwealth Club's Legacy Circle by including the Club in your estate plan.

Charitable Bequests

A charitable bequest is simply a distribution from your estate to a charitable organization through your last will and testament. There are different kinds of bequests. For each, you must use very specific language to indicate the precise direction of your assets, and to successfully carry out your final wishes. In any charitable bequest, it is important to name the recipient accurately or your bequest may go to a charity you did not intend.

Do you have an estate?

Your “estate” is the sum of your assets, including property you own, insurance policies, retirement accounts, cash on hand, etc. Wealthy people may have very large estates, but even people who aren’t wealthy often have the resources to make a charitable bequest. If every adult in America made a will and included a bequest of just $100, billions of dollars would flow to charitable causes every year.

Below, we have listed some of the more common kinds of bequests, and some bequest language. We always recommend that you carefully review the terms of your will with a professional trained in handling trusts and estates.

General Bequests are legacies left to certain people or causes that come from the general value of the estate, and are made by designating a specific dollar amount, a particular asset or a fixed percentage of your estate to the cause of your choice.

General bequest language:

"I give, devise, and bequeath to Commonwealth Club of California, TIN 94-0399260, the sum of $________(or a description of the specific asset), for the benefit of Commonwealth Club of California and its general purposes."

Specific Bequests are made when a particular item or property is bequeathed for a designated purpose. (i.e., instruments bequeathed to the local school district for use in music education; dollar funds to be used in the operation of a school or church.)

Specific bequest language:

"I give, devise, and bequeath to Commonwealth Club of California, TIN 94-0399260, the sum of $_______ (or a description of a specific asset), for the benefit of Commonwealth Club of California to be used for the following purpose: (state the purpose). If at any time in the judgment of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Club of California it is impossible or impracticable to carry out exactly the designated purpose, they shall determine an alternative purpose closest to the designated purpose."

Residuary Bequests are made when you intend to leave the residue portion of your assets after other terms of the will have been satisfied.

Residuary bequest language:

"All the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, both real and personal, I give Commonwealth Club of California, TIN 94-0399260, for its general purposes."

Contingency Bequests allow you to leave a portion of your estate to a particular charity if your named beneficiary does not survive you.

Contingency bequest language:

"I devise and bequeath the residue of the property, real and personal and wherever situated, owned by me at my death, to (name of beneficiary), if (she/he) survives me. If (name of beneficiary) does not survive me, I devise and bequeath my residuary estate to Commonwealth Club of California, TIN 94-0399260, for its general purposes."

The Commonwealth Club is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization.

You can easily and confidentially explore your planned gift choices by calling Oona Marti, the Commonwealth Club's Vice President of Development and Membership, at 415-597-6714, or by email at omarti@commonwealthclub.org.