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Planned Giving

Planned Giving

A planned gift to Community Legal Services (CLS) demonstrates your commitment to ensure Justice for All for years to come. Your gift may be used for operating needs, to generate investment income, or for a particular program you wish to benefit.

Planned gifts can be of any size and are often the single major gift that individuals make in their lifetime.  Donors who want peace of mind can retain control over their assets for their lifetime, knowing that every dollar is there if needed, and the gift only happens if there are assets remaining in the estate. 



A simple way to leave a legacy to Community Legal Services is by making a bequest in your Will. A bequest is a gift, made after the donor’s estate is settled.  It can be a specific sum of money, another asset, or a portion of one’s residuary estate (the amount remaining after specific allocations have been made).

If you already have a Will, you can include CLS by making a codicil. If you don’t already have an estate plan, now may be a good time to establish one.  CLS can help you to identify an attorney and suggest ways to reduce estate taxes.

Sample codicil language:

“I give to Community Legal Services, Inc., a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization currently headquartered at 1424 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, the sum of $_____ (or __% of my residuary estate) for the unrestricted use and purposes of the organization.”

Life Insurance Gift

Making a gift of life insurance can be a cost-effective way to make a major gift to CLS.  You can name “Community Legal Services, Inc.” as a beneficiary on a new or an existing life insurance policy.

Transferring ownership of a paid-up existing policy that you no longer need is an excellent and simple way to benefit CLS. Under certain circumstances you may be entitled to an income tax deduction for such a gift.

Also, continuing to pay the premiums on a new or existing policy where ownership has been transferred to CLS can be an attractive strategy to young donors because the premium cost is relatively low. Whether the donor makes one single premium payment for the policy or pays premiums annually, each payment produces a charitable income tax deduction.

Retirement Plan Gifts

Two ways to use retirement assets as a charitable gift are outlined below.  To make a gift in the future, include CLS as a beneficiary of remainder assets in your account; to make a current gift from your IRA, if you have reached the age when you must take withdrawals, you may transfer IRA assets directly to CLS.

Designate CLS as a Beneficiary

Retirement plans such as an IRA, 403(b) or 401(k) can also be a means of providing a planned gift to Community Legal Services. Funds remaining in your retirement accounts at death are considered part of your estate for federal tax purposes and could result in additional estate tax. Any retirement funds that remain after payment of estate taxes will also be subject to income taxes when received by your heirs. You could choose to avoid this double taxation by funding a planned gift to CLS with excess retirement funds and leaving other, less heavily taxed assets to loved ones.

You can designate a specific amount from your retirement plan to any number of heirs before the remaining funds benefit CLS. Or you can provide for a contingent, charitable gift to CLS in the event that your heirs do not survive you.

You may be able to complete the change yourself, in just a few minutes, if you manage your account online.  Or, ask your plan administrator for more information and a Change of Beneficiary form.  You can then designate “Community Legal Services, Inc.” as a beneficiary to receive all or a portion of your retirement plan assets according to the conditions you select.  You will need this information:

  1. Legal name of the organization:                               Community Legal Services, Inc.

  2. Employer Identification Number:                              23-1671562

  3. Date organization was founded:                               May 4, 1966


We encourage you to seek the advice of your financial advisor, an estate planning attorney and/or CPA to discuss potential tax implications of any option you are considering.

For more information on planned giving opportunities, please contact:
Caitlin Brown