Beneficiary Designations

Why beneficiary designations are so powerful

Assets not included in your will are called non-probate assets. Examples are 401(k)s, IRAs, life insurance policies, and other accounts. Designating Happy Paws as a beneficiary can have a big impact and may avoid unwanted taxes for your heirs.

Charitable benefits

  • Receive an estate tax charitable deduction
  • Reduce the burden of taxes on your family
  • Continue to use assets or property during your lifetime
  • Leave a lasting legacy to Happy Paws Animal Rescue

Common gifted assets for beneficiaries

  • IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Life insurance
  • Joint real estate
  • Joint bank accounts
  • Joint property ownership

Designate <org name> as a beneficiary to one or more of your accounts.

We have partnered with FreeWill to offer this free online platform that will walk you through the process of setting up your beneficiaries. These gifts have a big impact and can often prevent unwanted taxation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a “non-probate” asset?
    • A non-probate asset is an account or other asset that won’t be governed by the decisions you make in a will. Instead, these accounts commonly have an assigned beneficiary that you choose. Types of non-probate assets include many retirement accounts, life insurance, some bank accounts and some assets (like a house or vehicle) that you jointly own with another person.
  • Which non-probate asset is most commonly given to charity?
    • The most commonly gifted non-probate asset is an IRA or 401(k). This is because these accounts are always taxed (even for people below the estate tax threshold). Giving these accounts to charity keeps your heirs from having to pay unexpected taxes.
  • Is a beneficiary designation different from a will?
    • Yes! Even if you have a will in place you still need to designate beneficiaries for your non-probate assets.
  • Is my estate big enough to leave a planned gift?
    • Yes! Gifts of any size are deeply appreciated. Many people choose to leave a percentage of their estate, which scales up or down with your estate size.
  • Does it cost anything to make beneficiary designations?
    • No. You can usually make these easily and at no cost to you. 
  • Can I edit my designation after I ‘m done?
    • Yes. You are always free to revise or update your estate plans.