Estate Planning

Estate Planning

A safe place to sleep, a nature program, and after school music classes for underserved youth — these programs and many others have all been funded by donors whose vision and generosity will live on in a vibrant, inclusive Bay Area.

Since 1948, we have worked hand-in-hand with individuals and families to create charitable legacies that provide lasting support for causes in the Bay Area and beyond. Drawing on our philanthropic, tax and legal expertise, we will help you design a flexible giving strategy and timeline that works in tandem with the estate planning process. A variety of planning options exist to meet your financial planning needs and charitable vision.

Click on the sections below for more Estate Planning information.

Future Gifts

Bequest by will or trust: You may name the San Francisco Foundation and leave a specific sum of money, a percentage of your estate, or what remains after other bequests have been satisfied. Whether designated or unrestricted, the foundation can work with you to create a lasting legacy. Download our sample bequest language to provide to your attorney.

Retirement plan assets: Having assets in your IRA or other qualified retirement plans naming the San Francisco Foundation is a simple and effective way to benefit the community while avoiding significant, often unanticipated taxes. Using retirement plan assets to fulfill your charitable legacy can be far more advantageous than including assets in your taxable estate or leaving them to heirs, which may be heavily taxed. You may designate that after your death, assets remaining in the plan are to be contributed to a fund at the foundation, and no estate tax or income tax is due on the retirement assets that pass to the foundation.

Life insurance policies: Another simple asset to give is a gift of life insurance.

  • Option 1: Name the San Francisco Foundation as a full-benefit or partial beneficiary and your estate may receive a charitable deduction from estate taxes.
  • Option 2: Give a paid-up policy outright. We accept gifts of existing life insurance policies that have cash value and no outstanding loans again the policy. You may receive a charitable deduction for a portion of the face value of the policy.

Gifts That Provide Income

Charitable remainder trusts:

  • Giving through a charitable remainder trust allows you to receive income for the life of the trust, with the remainder to the foundation to distribute according to your charitable goals.
  • A charitable remainder unitrust is an irrevocable trust set up to pay a variable income to you or your named beneficiaries for life or for a fixed term not exceeding 20 years, or a combination of the two. You receive an income tax deduction for the present value of the gift the year the trust is funded.
  • If selected as Trustee, the foundation invests and manages the trust, and when the trust term terminates, the foundation uses the remaining assets to establish a fund or adds them to an existing fund at the foundation.
  • A charitable remainder annuity trust is the same as the charitable remainder unitrust except that it is set up to pay a fixed income rather than a variable income.

See the Charitable remainder trusts fact sheet for more detail.

Charitable gift annuity:

  • A charitable gift annuity (CGA) is a simple contract that gives you the security of guaranteed income for life. Your annual income from this contract is a simple calculation using the gift amount and the rate based on your age. And you receive a charitable deduction for a portion of your gift.
  • Find your payout rate at the American Council on Gift Annuities rate tables.
  • Don’t need the income right now? You can defer the payments until a future date and you will have receive a higher payout rate and larger charitable deduction.
  • San Francisco Foundation works with a trusted partner, the National Gift Annuity Foundation, to administer these gifts.

Future Funds

A Future Fund is a fund that will be set up once an estate gift is received. The fund will be administered according to the fund agreement that has been completed during your lifetime and if you have changes to make, simply contact us to complete an amendment without also needing to update your estate plans.

See the Future Funds fact sheet for more detail.

Additional Giving Options

Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA: A qualified charitable distribution is a unique federal provision allows anyone 70.5 years or older to make an outright gift directly from their IRA to The San Francisco Foundation or other favorite charitable organizations of up to $105,000 for 2024, without paying income tax on the distribution. See our Detailed Giving Instructions for more information.

Charitable lead trust: A charitable lead trust enables you to make a significant charitable gift now while transferring substantial assets to beneficiaries later. To use this giving option, a trust is setup that distributes annual payments to the foundation for a specific number of years. Trust distributions go first to your fund here at the foundation, and then on to charities you specify. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal is returned to you, or more typically, your children or other loved ones at reduced tax cost or tax-free.

Retained life estate: Your home, one of your most valued possessions, can become a meaningful gift to the San Francisco Foundation— even while you are still living in it, and even if you want your spouse or other survivor to live there for life. In this arrangement, you enjoy the property as long as you like while giving future ownership to the foundation. You receive an income tax deduction the year the contribution is arranged through the irrevocable gift of the “remainder interest”, and proceeds from the sale go to establish or add to a fund here at the foundation.

Give Guides

See our library of Give Guides with recommendations for strategic giving.

Join the Bay Area Promise Society

Individuals and families who generously include the San Francisco Foundation in their estate plans are recognized and thanked for their generosity as new members of the Bay Area Promise Society (BAPS), our legacy society. The foundation hosts special events for BAPS members, including presentations by financial and philanthropic experts, site visits to learn more about the work of local nonprofit organizations, and opportunities to learn what donor peers are doing with their philanthropic pursuits.

Additionally, BAPS members are a part of the foundation family and receive the benefits enjoyed by all foundation donors, including financial and philanthropic advice tailored to their personal situation. Read more.

Resources and Information

Legal Name: The San Francisco Foundation
TAX ID: 01-0679337
Address: One Embarcadero Center, Suite 1400, San Francisco, CA 94111