THE MEF LEGACY SOCIETY

In the end, each of us is remembered for our acts – for the lives we touch and the causes we advance. In 2016, members of the Forum's Executive Committee established The Foundation for the Middle East Forum (FMEF) to ensure the Forum's long-term viability.

The Foundation was seeded with a million dollars: half a million from the Forum's general operating fund and another half a million from the Foundation's Board of Governors. The Foundation, treated as a restricted project, has its own governing board composed of select Forum board members and other donors.

The Forum asks its donors to consider creating a lasting legacy by including MEF in their estate plans. To learn more about making a charitable bequest to the Forum, please contact Matthew Bennett, by calling 215-546-5406 ext. 114 or email Bennett@MEForum.org.

Planned Giving

Your gift will enhance the Forum's capabilities while allowing you to transfer more wealth to your heirs at a lower cost. Each of the following 4 methods serves a different purpose and fits a specific investment plan:

  1. Charitable Bequest – to remove assets from a taxable estate and make a larger contribution than may be possible during one's lifetime.
  2. Life Insurance – to gain a charitable income tax deduction for the cash surrender value and premiums of a life insurance policy.
  3. Retirement Plan – to reduce the size of a taxable estate, avoid income taxation on those funds, avoid income and estate taxes, and increase the amounts passing to heirs.
  4. Charitable Trust – to see philanthropy in action, making transfers to heirs at a lower tax cost and designating beneficiaries to receive payments for life or a term of years. Three types of Charitable Trusts: Charitable Remainder Trust, Charitable Lead Trust, Retained Life Estate.

Please inform us of your intention to plan your giving, so we can recognize you as a member of the MEF Legacy Society and work with you, your family, and your financial advisor to develop a personalized approach.

1. CHARITABLE BEQUESTS

A bequest does not cost you anything during your lifetime and can lessen the tax burden on your heirs. You retain full ownership and control of your assets during your life; the gift goes to the Forum only upon your death. There is the added benefit of an estate tax deduction for the value of the gift. How to donate with a charitable bequest:

  1. Notify MEF of your intention to leave a charitable bequest and join our Legacy Society.
  2. Designate a portion of your estate to the MEF (either a percentage or a specific amount)
    Residuary Bequest - MEF is given a percentage of the residuary estate.
    Outright Bequest - MEF is given a specific dollar amount or a specific asset.
  3. After the donor's passing, the trustee transfers the money or real estate to MEF.

2. LIFE INSURANCE

The multiplier effect of a charitable gift of life insurance helps the Middle East Forum beyond your personal finances. The endowed gift will be substantially larger than the amount used to fund the insurance policy. Proceeds pass directly to MEF free of federal income and estate taxes, probate, and administrative costs, and without delay, fees, or transfer costs. Gifts of life insurance are especially affordable for younger donors, allowing an opportunity to make sizable gifts. How to donate life insurance:

  1. Contribute a life insurance policy to the Middle East Forum, naming MEF as its owner and beneficiary.
  2. Take income tax deductions on your premium payments.
  3. The death benefit goes to MEF after the donor's passing.

3. RETIREMENT PLANS

Designating the Middle East Forum as a beneficiary of your retirement plan allows a substantial donation at a minimum cost to your family. IRAs, 401Ks, and Keogh Plans are all subject to estate and income taxes, but gifting it to a charity avoids these taxes. This type of gift is easy and can be done at no cost. Note that your beneficiary can be changed at any time. How to donate a Retirement Plan:

  1. Notify MEF of your intention to name us as beneficiary of your retirement plan and inform your retirement plan administrator that the Middle East Forum is the beneficiary.
  2. Continue to take withdrawals during your lifetime as needed or desired.

4. CHARITABLE TRUSTS

There are three ways to set up a trust. Each one serves a different purpose.

Charitable Remainder Trust: This highly-recommended estate planning tool allows you to donate your assets to the Forum while providing an income stream to you and your family. A charitable remainder trust has significant tax advantages for your children and beneficiaries during your lifetime. How to donate a charitable remainder trust:

  1. Establish a remainder trust to provide income payments to you and/or your family.
  2. Place appreciated real estate or securities in the charitable remainder trust.
  3. Benefit, in most cases, from reduced estate taxes.
  4. After the donor's passing, the assets go to the Middle East Forum.

Charitable Lead Trust: This is an outstanding way to give charity today, eventually leaving the asset to your heirs. It transfers assets to your heirs with significant tax advantages while making a gift to the Middle East Forum. Appreciated real estate is often an excellent asset to place in a charitable trust. How to donate a charitable lead trust.

  1. Establish a charitable lead trust that will make income payments to MEF for a predetermined number of years.
  2. After the trust term ends or you pass away, the remaining assets are distributed to you or your family, free of estate, gift, and income taxes.

Retained Life Estate: This allows you to donate a home to the Middle East Forum and take a substantial tax deduction while retaining the right to live in it for the rest of your life. How to donate a retained life estate:

  1. Deed your home to MEF, but retain the right to live there for the rest of your life.
  2. Receive a charitable income tax deduction for the value of your home.
  3. Continue to live on your property for as long as you want.
  4. You are responsible for expenses: maintenance fees, insurance, property taxes, repairs, etc.
  5. After the donor's passing, the property is transferred to the Forum.