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Planned Giving

Planned Giving

Bequests (specific, residuary, and contingent gifts made by will) are the most popular type of planned gift. Whether you wish to provide general operating income for us to use as needed, which provides us with flexible support, or to a specific program, a bequest is a way to ensure that we and our programs continue to operate through your generosity. A bequest may also help you meet your financial and estate-planning goals since an estate-tax charitable deduction for the entire amount of the gift is allowed. While your will (or codicil) should be prepared by your attorney in consultation with your advisers, we are available to discuss all opportunities with you.

Retirement Plan Assets
Assets in qualified (tax-deferred) retirement plans may represent a large portion of your total assets and therefore may be an important factor in planning testamentary charitable gifts. Retirement assets generally considered suitable for charitable gifts include such plans as IRAs, Keoghs, SEPs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and ESOPs.

Left to family members or friends, these assets are subject to income tax and may also be subject to estate tax and generation skipping transfer tax. Because of this potential double layer of tax, retirement plan assets may be particularly attractive as an asset to leave as a gift. In other words, if you designate us as a beneficiary upon your death of all or a specified percentage of a retirement plan, the portion of the plan payable to us will generally escape estate taxes, and we, as a tax-exempt institution, will not be required to pay income tax on the distributions. As a general rule, if you intend to make both non charitable and charitable gifts at death, it makes sense to consider using your tax-deferred retirement plan assets for charity and other assets for heirs. If you are thinking about donating retirement plan assets, you should discuss the matter with your advisers beforehand.

For more information about planned giving contact (860) 838-4055 or

Tangible Personal Property
Tangible personal property, such as books, artwork, jewelry, antiques, and the like, may be donated to the museum during your lifetime or by bequest. We must give special consideration to such gifts before we are able to accept them.

If you are thinking of donating tangible personal property to the museum contact Marci King, Curatorial Administrator, at (860) 838-4093 or

As with gifts of appreciated securities held long term (longer than 12 months), a donor of tangible personal property held long term and accepted by the Wadsworth Atheneum is potentially entitled to claim an immediate income-tax charitable deduction and avoid capital gains taxes. The extent of the allowable income-tax deduction for such a gift, however, would depend on whether we use the property in a manner related to its tax-exempt mission.

If the use of the contributed property is related to our exempt purposes (e.g., gifts of artwork accepted into our collection), the donor is generally entitled to claim an income-tax charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the property (up to 30% of AGI with a five-year carryover). If the use of the contributed property is unrelated to our exempt purposes, or if the donor held the property for 12 months or less before making the donation, then the donor’s income-tax charitable deduction is limited to the cost basis in the property.