Gifts Through Your Will
"I decided to leave my estate to the ACLU. The reason: its long track record of major accomplishments and its incredibly dedicated staff of attorneys and organizers."
A Will is the cornerstone of any estate plan, whether you're wealthy or not. It's also the most popular way to leave a legacy with the ACLU:
- Play a personal role in protecting freedom's future
- Make a gift that becomes effective only when you no longer need the assets
- Put your spouse or partner first in line with a second-to-die bequest
- Simple gift options you can use even if you haven't yet written a will
You can add the ACLU to your existing Will by revising and re-executing the document at any time, or by executing a separate amendment called a codicil.
Here are a few key planning ideas you might want to consider:
Stay flexible by using percentages
The value of personal assets can rise and fall. A bequest stated as a percentage will automatically adjust regardless of future circumstances. For example "I leave 10% of my estate to the ACLU."
Know for sure by naming a fixed dollar amount
For example, "I leave $50,000 to the ACLU." Your estate doesn't have to have cash or securities to cover the gift amount, as long as the value of all of your assets is sufficient.
Put your spouse first in line with a "second-to-die" bequest
This plan ensures that your gift is made only after you know the assets won't be needed by your spouse or partner. For example, "If my partner survives me, then I leave my entire estate to my partner. If my partner does not survive me, then I leave my estate as follows. . ." When two partners use this clause in conjunction with each other, then each receives the other's assets upon the death of the first-to-die, and other heirs and organizations receive the remaining assets upon the death of the second-to-die.
We suggest the following language for a bequest to the ACLU. Such a bequest is not deductible for purposes of federal estate tax, but can be used most flexibly by the ACLU, including for legislative lobbying. The tax ID# of the American Civil Liberties Union is 13-3871360.
I give to the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation that is recognized as exempt from tax under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, with its principal offices at 125 Broad Street, New York, New York, [all (or ____ percent) of my residuary estate] or [the sum of $_______ ] to be used for its general purposes.
Tax Note: An estate tax charitable deduction may not be relevant for people whose estates are worth less than the federal estate tax exemption amount. Under current law, through 2025 the federal exemption is temporarily set at $11,400,000 for individuals and $22,800,000 for a married couple, subject to indexing. In 2026, the exemption reverts to $5,000,000 for individuals and $10,000,000 for a married couple, subject to cumulative indexing from 2012 forward. Estate tax imposed at the state level (currently in CT, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, ME, MN, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA) may also be a consideration. You should consult your own qualified financial and legal advisors to learn how the laws apply in your particular circumstances.
You can also support the ACLU with a tax-deductible bequest to the ACLU Foundation.
Take the next step:
5 Great Ways to Leave a Legacy
Confidential Bequest Intention Form (Printable PDF)
Confidential Bequest Intention Form (Secure online form)
Estate Planning Resources
Please note: This information is not intended as tax or legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your legal and financial advisors to learn how a gift would work in your circumstances. Laws and regulations governing all gifts and availability of certain life income gifts vary by state.