Bequests & Beneficiary Designations

What is a bequest?

A bequest is a gift to the Boy Scouts of America made at the time of your passing, often through a will or living trust. Bequests also include gifts where the Boy Scouts of America is designated as a successor beneficiary of a financial or retirement account, or a life insurance policy.


Benefits and Considerations

Show your support now. Establishing a bequest is a powerful way to demonstrate your support now – by planning for your and the organization’s future.

Combine with current gifts. Bequests are often combined with current gifts to increase the future impact. For example, you can establish a campership now, and add to it in the future through a bequest.

Revocable at any time. Bequests are not payable until your death. You can amend or revoke your bequest at any time if your situation changes.

Membership in giving societies. Making a bequest to the Boy Scouts of America may entitle you to membership in various local and national giving societies, including James E. West Fellowship and Second Century Society.

Designated purpose. It is important to state the intended purpose of any gift. For example, a gift could be for camperships, camp improvements or other capital projects, or to support programs such as ScoutReach. It is a good idea to share the purpose of your gift with the Council in advance – to ensure your wishes are understood and can be carried out.

Unrestricted gifts. A bequest might not be received by the Boy Scouts of America for many years. As a result, restrictions placed on the use of your gift should be as minimal as possible, providing BSA with maximum flexibility as priorities and programs may change over time. For this reason, you may want to consider making your bequest unrestricted – meaning it will be used at the discretion of the Council for their highest priorities.

Endowment vs. current use. Donors will often direct that their bequest be included in BSA’s permanent endowment, which is a particularly effective way to leave a lasting legacy, since an endowment gift will support the purpose that is important to you in perpetuity. Alternatively, a bequest can provide that your gift be expended in full for the intended use, which is often referred to as a current use gift. If no designation is made, it is the Council’s current practice to apply these gifts into its permanent endowment.


Sample Bequest Clauses

Note:  Bequests similar to the samples below may also be made to family trusts or charitable trusts, donor advised funds, or numerous other gift vehicles. Any of these bequests may be:

  • Contingent on surviving other beneficiaries, or life events

  • Residuary gifts, from what may be left over in an estate, and

  • Percentage designations from the overall estate


GENERAL BEQUEST

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the Greater Los Angeles Council, Boy Scouts of America, a not-for-profit corporation with headquarters in Los Angeles, or its legal successor thereto:  (insert sum of money, portion of estate, description of property, or…” the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate.”) to be used for such purposes as the council may designate.”

(The simplest way to make a gift to Scouting without conditions.  The council board has the freedom and responsibility to determine the use of the funds or property received. They may place the gift in the endowment, spend it on capital or operating needs, etc.)


SPECIFIC BEQUEST

“I give, devise, and bequeath to Greater Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, a non-profit corporation with headquarters in Los Angeles or the legal successor thereto, (insert sum of money, portion of estate, description of property, or ”… the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate.”) to be owned, held, and used by the Greater Los Angeles Area Council for the following purpose(s): (list specific purpose for which bequest is made)

If it is found by the executive board of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council that all or part of this bequest cannot be used to the best advantage for the above purpose, then all or any balance of this bequest not so expended may be used for any purpose, approved by said executive board, within the corporate powers of the council.”

(When this form of bequest is used, the gift property will be used for the specific purpose or projects chosen by the donor. For example: to fund understaffed Scouting districts, to fund Hispanic Scouting initiatives, to build or improve a council camp or office, provide camperships, etc.)


GENERAL ENDOWMENT BEQUEST

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the endowment fund of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, a not-for-profit corporation with headquarters in Los Angeles, or its legal successor thereto (insert here sum of money, portion of estate, description of property, or the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate), to be added to, held, and administered by the trustee in accordance with the terms, provisions, and conditions as set forth in the declaration of trust of Greater Los Angeles Area Council.”

(When this form of bequest is used, the use of the principal and income from the funds or property is governed by the terms of the council’s trust agreement. For many BSA councils, this principal is presumed to be held in perpetuity and may not be spent, unless donor otherwise specifies.)


SPECIFIC ENDOWMENT BEQUEST

“I give, devise, and bequeath to the endowment fund of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, a not-for-profit corporation with headquarters in Los Angeles, or its legal successor thereto: (insert sum of money, portion of estate, description of property, or ”… the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate”), to be held in trust by said trustee and by their lawful successor, to be used for (List specific purposes for which bequest is made – donor may permit use of principal).

If it is found by the Executive Board of the Greater Los Angeles Area Council that all or part of the income cannot be used to the best advantage for the above purpose, then all or any balance of the income not so expended may be used for any purpose approved by said Board which is within the corporate powers of the council.”

(This form of bequest differs by either restricting the use of the income or unrestricting the principal. For example, to fund understaffed Scouting districts, to create camperships for disadvantaged youth, to build or renovate a camp facility or office, etc.)


BEQUEST FOR DONORS CONCERNED ABOUT MERGERS

“I give, devise, and bequeath (insert sum of money, portion of estate, description of property, or…” the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate.”) to the Greater Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, located in Los Angeles, or its legal successor thereto, or, in the event of a merger or consolidation, to the district/geographic area previously served or defined by the Greater Los Angeles Area Council boundaries as of the date of this Will.”


IRAs, INSURANCE, AND OTHER BEQUEST ALTERNATIVES

You may also make distributions via beneficiary designations for: life insurance, IRA’s and other retirement accounts, charitable trusts, revocable trusts, and gift annuities. To do so, simply ask the plan or fund administrator for a Change of Beneficiary form, state the percentage of the proceeds you want to go to the council, and list the “Greater Los Angeles Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, Los Angeles, California” as beneficiary. 


Please contact Kelli Nakayama at (213) 361-9466 or knakayama@scouting.org for more information.