Planned/Estate Giving Guide

Maximize giving, minimize taxes and create a living legacy at Helen Woodward Animal Center

Thank you for your interest in including Helen Woodward Animal Center in your estate plans.
The Center offers a variety of planned gift opportunities designed to meet individual financial needs. Planned gifts often provide lifetime monetary benefits to the donor and their family, along with considerable tax savings and the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping ensure the future of the Center and its many programs for generations to come. There is a wide range of giving opportunities available, some of which are outlined below.

Find the gift that's right for you and the Center

Legacy Giving: The Future of Helen Woodward Animal Center

Our charitable bequest is one of the most important types of gifts for building a future where people help animals and animals help people.

To make the process easy, Helen Woodward Animal Center has partnered with FreeWill: a trusted estate planning tool that can help you complete your plans for free and under 20 minutes. Use FreeWill to kickstart your legacy with us today.

If you would prefer to finalize your will with an attorney, you can also save time with your lawyer by using FreeWill to document your wishes first. 

Pet Guardianship

Many friends of the Center who choose to make a bequest also arrange to entrust their pet(s) to the care of the Center after their passing.  While placement with a trusted family member or friend who may already know and love the pet is often ideal, sometimes this is not possible.  To accommodate such cases, Helen Woodward Animal Center offers the Pet Guardianship Program that allows an owner to bequeath their pet to the Center and enjoy the comfort of knowing their loving companion will have a safe place to go in the event the owner passes, or is no longer able to care for their pet.  Click the button below to find out more, and download Pet Guardianship Program forms.

“I feel a gratitude that brings tears to my eyes as I write this–that these two beloved friends now have a backup plan in case I become unable to care for them. And not just somewhere to go, but the best place imaginable, where they will be treated with kindness, love, and expertise, and will likely find a new home where they will be loved and well cared for. That, to me, is priceless. Such a sense of relief and peace of mind–my beloved family will be okay even if I’m not with them.”
Nancy K.

Helen Woodward Animal Center's Pet Guardianship Program

Qualified Charitable Distributions

Making a Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), also known as IRA Charitable Rollovers, is a great way for individuals age 70½ or older to use their IRAs to maximize their charitable impact and by doing so, you can help orphan pets.

We have adopted cats in several states where we have lived. Our remaining four cats, two sets of male/female siblings, were obtained from the Center. The care they receive medical and other, prior to our finding them is better than we see elsewhere. That the HWAC animals are saved from other places where care is lacking is also impressive. The Center is an organization that deserves support, and doing it as a QCD from an IRA RMD allows that support to be given free of income taxes. Both we and the animals benefit.
Oliver C.

Life Insurance

A gift of life insurance is an excellent way to make a sizable contribution that does not tie up current assets, that provides immediate tax savings and that helps ensure the Center’s future. You may make the Center owner and beneficiary of a life insurance policy that you no longer need. If the policy is fully paid up, your deduction equals the cost or replacement value of a new policy with comparable benefits. You may also take out a new policy that names the Center as beneficiary. The premiums you pay are tax-deductible, and in time, the value of the policy will far exceed your net contributions.

Example: Art lost his wife to cancer last year and has decided to throw himself into various activities to keep his mind off his incredible loss. One of those activities is attending events hosted by Helen Woodward Animal Center which allow him and his dog, Xander (who he adopted from the Center), to attend. Art has really come to appreciate the efforts of the Center because of its work with animals helping people and people helping animals.


While Art does not have considerable wealth or cash flow, he would like to help Helen Woodward Animal Center any way he can. Over the years, he has supported the Center with small monetary and in-kind donations, but wanted to do more. After attending a Planned Giving event, held by the Center, he learned about the Pet Bequest Program, where someone leaves money and direction on the care of their pet should the pet outlive the owner. One of the ways to fund the Pet Bequest is by leaving a life insurance death benefit for the benefit of Helen Woodward Animal Center. The other way to fund the Pet Bequest is to give a lump sum gift to Helen Woodward Animal Center when he passes away.


Art had purchased a $35,000 whole life policy 23 years ago so his wife would have some extra money to pay off bills if something happened to him. Over the years, he had diligently paid the $83/month premiums and, because of dividends, the death benefit had grown to more than $51,000 dollars with a surrender value of more than $23,000! Art decided that since he no longer needed to provide the money to his wife, he could donate the policy to Helen Woodward Animal Center in honor of his wife and for the benefit of Xander. After contacting Helen Woodward Animal Center, Art happily became part of the Pet Bequest Program, with little effort on his part. With his gift, he was able to provide a future gift of at least $51,000. Plus, before his death, Helen Woodward Animal Center would be able to use the policy cash values and dividends as they saw fit. Finally, Art received another benefit: he did not have to pay premiums anymore; so, by funding his Pet Bequest program, Art “found” almost $1,000/year more to help animals like Xander have a better life.

Charitable Gift Annuity

A Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) can provide guaranteed income for life by providing the mature donor with lifetime payments through better yield on fixed income assets, such as CDs and bonds, and reduce portfolio risk.  In addition, the CGA will generate a tax deduction and allow remaining assets to be used to support the Center.

Example 1: John is a 70-year-old retiree who would like to make a significant impact for Helen Woodward Animal Center but is concerned his income is not high enough to warrant much more than what he has already been giving each year. This is especially true since his 5-year CD is maturing and CD rates have fallen since he opened the account. In fact, he looked online recently and the 5-year rate for a $100,000 CD is about 1.5% – meaning he will receive $1,500 per year and have to pay taxes on all of that income.


While attending a Planned Giving event held by Helen Woodward Animal Center, John learned about Charitable Gift Annuities (CGAs.) which would allow him to use his $100,000 to receive 3-4 times more guaranteed income than what a new CD would provide, and, the bulk of that income will not be taxable each year (until he reaches his “life expectancy.”). Furthermore, John would be able to provide Helen Woodward Animal Center with a tax deductible gift of almost $33,000 as well as have that lifetime income guaranteed by an A-rated multi-billion dollar financial services company such as ING or American National.

Example 2: Scott is a 50-year-old manager who got tired of the market’s volatility a couple years ago and switched some of his funds to cash. He is a consistent donor to Helen Woodward Animal Center and feels strongly about what they do, but feels he needs to take care of his retirement before donating a portion of his assets to them. 

Scott attended one of the annual Planned Giving events held by Helen Woodward Animal Center and learned about CGAs and a few options available to him so that he could provide a gift to the Center, in addition to annual payments to himself. One option was a deferred CGA that would receive approximately $4,800 per year for the rest of his life starting at the age of 70 with a $50,000 deposit. A good portion of that income would not be subject to taxes. 

In the end, Scott joined Helen Woodward’s elite group of donors by giving them almost $10,000.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) gives you the flexibility to design a trust to meet your individual financial goals and provides an income for life. By establishing a Helen Woodward Animal Center CRT, all account values go to the benefit of Helen Woodward Animal Center to further its mission when the donor passes on.  In short, the Helen Woodward Animal Center CRT epitomizes the Center’s slogan of “People helping animals and animals helping people” by providing people with tax deductions and income for life, while also leaving a lump sum of money for the animals.

Sue and Bob Smith (65 years of age) own a beach house in San Diego but live in Orange County. Although they enjoy having the house, it is expensive to maintain and has an appreciated fair market value of $1.5 million and is completely debt free.


The Smiths have been thinking about selling the house, taking the profit and avoiding all the typical maintenance problems. However, the Smith’s basis in the house is $500,000, and they would incur significant capital gains taxes in the sale.


They create the Sue and Bob Charitable Remainder Trust. Their trustee sells the house free of any taxes since the trust is tax-exempt. The trustee reinvests the proceeds into a diversified portfolio. The Smith’s receive a current charitable income tax deduction and an annual income percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets, as revalued annually.


Utilizing a Charitable Remainder Trust, Sue and Bob can create a lifetime income stream and benefit Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Stock Donation

A popular alternative to a cash gift is a gift of appreciated securities, which generate a double tax benefit. If an investor has an appreciated stock or mutual fund that they purchased more than a year ago, they can donate those securities to a charity and receive a tax deduction for the fair market value of the securities.  In this way they can eliminate any capital gains assessment on the future sale of the securities.

Crypto Donation

A new way to donate to a charity is by donating crypto.  Helen Woodward Animal Center is excited to announce that we are now able to accept cryptocurrency donations including Bitcoin, USD Coin, and Ethereum. Please contact crypto@every.org if donating with a different coin and the donation is valued at $5,000 or more. The donation process is easy and simple through Every.org. Try it out by clicking the link below!



When you include Helen Woodward Animal Center in your estate plan, your generosity helps save the lives of orphan pets. Thank you for ensuring that Helen Woodward Animal Center can impact those we serve for years to come.

Please contact Renee Resko, Vice President of Development, at 858-756-4117 ext. 347 or via email with any questions about Planned Giving Opportunities.

Due to Hurricane Hilary, all  departments will be closing at 3pm today.  Stay safe!