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Retirement / IRA / 401k Assets

Retirement assets (IRA / 401k / 403b / pension / or other deferred plan) can become an important and valuable consideration as gifts to charities. The benefits can have an effect both before or after death.

Before Death:
Tax law changes are made on occasion that allow these assets to be donated directly from retirement accounts as a qualified charitable distribution to the charity prior to any death. These direct donations can reduce the estate consideration as well. This type of gift is generally limited to age 70 1/2 or older but does also allow for some larger donation amounts based on the current tax law. Contact your IRA custodian for more details and your tax advisor for any tax deduction implications.

After Death:
One common process is to make the SD Historical Society Foundation the beneficiary of a retirement asset. This allows the retirement asset to be excluded for any estate and the effects to family. This can be accomplished by contacting your retirement plan custodian


1. The donor makes the SD Historical Society the beneficiary of specific retirement assets within the estate plan (will) or through the retirement asset administrator.

2. The donor transfers assets from an eligible retirement account directly to the SD Historical Society Foundation. In 2013, if the donor is older than 70 1/2, this can be up to $100,000 from an eligible IRA account for gifts made prior to December 31, 2013.


1. The donor avoids specific taxes within the estate on the gift, allowing the full value of the account to become a gift.

2. The direct IRA transfer satisfies the minimum required IRA account distribution but provides no direct income tax benefit.

3. The donor removes the property from the estate and reduces future estate taxes.

4. The donor provides a valuable benefit to the SD Historical Society Foundation.

Any examples are for illustration and a tax professional should be consulted prior to a donation.