Gifts that Cost You Nothing Now

Most legacy gifts cost you nothing now. No immediate contribution is needed, and you can change your mind at any time. Once your family and friends are provided for, we hope you’ll consider making the protection of human rights part of your life story.

In addition to filling an important role in providing for the future financial security of your family and friends, your will or living trust offers a way for you to establish a legacy to protect human rights. It is satisfying to know that a portion of your property will be put to vital long-term use protecting the most vulnerable.

Gifts in Your Will or Living Trust

A gift made through a will or living trust is convenient to arrange. A simple provision or amendment prepared by your attorney at the time you make or update your will or trust is all that is necessary. Gifts included in wills and living trusts are popular because they are flexible, easy to arrange, and may be changed with your life circumstances.

Here are the most popular ways to give through wills and trusts:

  • Make a gift of a specific amount.
  • Make a gift of a percentage of your estate.
  • Give the remainder, or residue, of your estate to Human Rights Watch—that is, what remains after all other bequests to friends and loved ones are satisfied.
  • Provide for a gift of a particular property. Real estate, stocks, and other items of value are examples of properties that can be used to fund charitable bequests.
  • Name charitable interests to receive a bequest in the event other heirs are not there to receive their legacies.

There is no limit on amounts deductible from federal gift and estate taxes for charitable gifts made by will or trust. No tax will be due on assets given in this way. To plan a charitable gift through your will or living trust, inform your attorney of your wishes.

If you have any questions, please contact Brian Peterson, Director, Legacy and Gift Planning, at or at 212-216-1841.

View Sample Gift Language

Gifts by Beneficiary Designation

Continue your support for Human Rights Watch for years to come by naming our organization as a beneficiary of your retirement account, life insurance plan, bank account, or other assets. This is one of the easiest ways to give. It doesn’t require an estate plan or lawyer, and you can change your beneficiaries at any time.

We are grateful that you would consider having a profound and lasting effect on protecting human rights worldwide. Please let us know if you have included a gift for Human Rights Watch in your will, trust, or by beneficiary designation. Letting us know of your gift is the best way to ensure that your wishes are honored.

Retirement Plan Gift

There are excellent tax benefits from donating retirement plan assets in an IRA, 401(K), 403(B), or qualified pension to Human Rights Watch. If you designate payment of retirement plan assets to anyone other than a charity, the recipient will have to pay income taxes on the distributions from the retirement plan. However, because Human Rights Watch is tax-exempt, we will receive the full value of the distributions without tax. Additionally, the retirement assets designated to Human Rights Watch will not be a part of your taxable estate, thereby reducing the amount of the taxable estate and potentially lowering estate taxes owed.

To donate assets in your retirement plan to Human Rights Watch, simply complete a beneficiary designation form from your plan administrator.

View Sample Gift Language

Life Insurance Plan Gift

As life progresses, children become self-sufficient and other accumulated assets may provide sufficient financial security for you and your heirs. As a result, not all life insurance coverage may be needed for the reason it was initially purchased.

Such policies can make excellent gifts, either outright or through a beneficiary designation. If you make Human Rights Watch a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, the value of the policy will not be part of your taxable estate, thereby reducing the size of the taxable estate and potentially lowering estate taxes owed.

Simply determine what percentage you would like to donate to Human Rights Watch, and contact your insurance company or agent to request a beneficiary designation form to change the named beneficiary upon your death.

Savings Bonds

Savings bonds are very attractive sources for charitable bequests because so much of their value is attributable to untaxed interest income. If left to heirs, the government could receive the majority of the bond’s interest income through a combination of estate and income taxes. In the end, your heirs will receive only a fraction of the value of the bonds in which you so carefully invested. Since Human Rights Watch is tax-exempt, naming us the beneficiary of these bonds will ensure that 100 percent of your gift will go toward our work of bringing human rights abuses to a halt and demanding justice for victims.

Bank and Investment Accounts

Bank and Investment Accounts can be left directly to family, friends, or a charitable interest, like Human Rights Watch, at the end of one’s lifetime. This can often be accomplished using a “pay on death” (P.O.D.) provision for a bank account or CD. A “transfer on death” (T.O.D.) provision is used for certain other investment accounts. Simply ask your bank manager or financial advisor for the appropriate form. You retain full ownership and access to the funds during your lifetime and the person or charity only receives what is left in the account.

For more information, please contact Brian Peterson, Director of Legacy and Gift Planning, at or 212-216-1841.