Create an enduring legacy with your estate plan

Siebert Creek Recreation Area/Courtney Bornsworth

“Putting North Olympic Land Trust in my estate planning brings me happiness. My gift to the Land Trust will be a part of my legacy.”
            – Land Trust volunteer, supporter, and farm lover

One of the most profound ways Land Trust community members support our mission and goals is by remembering us is through planned giving. These generous gifts provide critical support for conserving farms, fish, and forests on the North Olympic Peninsula.

An estate plan with the Land Trust as a beneficiary might include a number of different tools including:

  • naming the Land Trust in a will or trust
  • listing the Land Trust as a beneficiary on a retirement account, life insurance policy, or commercial annuity
  • including the Land Trust on a bank or brokerage accounts
  • setting up a charitable trust or annuity for the Land Trust

Each Land Trust supporter should have an estate plan as unique as he or she is. The tools listed above can be combined in many different ways to create an estate plan that fits your needs and fulfills your giving goals. For those in the process of creating or updating their wills, now is the perfect time to consider naming the North Olympic Land Trust a beneficiary. Easier still, naming the Land Trust as a beneficiary of a retirement account can often be as easy as logging into your account and changing your beneficiary selection to include the Land Trust.

For those individuals who prefer to focus on giving within their lifetime, not only because it allows them to see the results of their gift, but, in some cases, there may be tax incentives for them or their beneficiaries. There are two main vehicles for lifetime giving: charitable lead trusts and charitable remainder trusts. In a charitable lead trust, you make payments to the Land Trust during your lifetime and the remainder of your assets go to your designated beneficiaries when you pass away. Charitable remainder trusts work in reverse: you draw an income during your lifetime and at the time of your passing the remaining balance goes to the Land Trust. 

Though not always linked to estate planning, donating appreciated stock is another way to give to the Land Trust and gain tax benefits. When you sell appreciated stock, you typically pay capital gains taxes. However, if you give the stock to the Land Trust, you will receive a charitable income tax deduction and will likely avoid those capital gains taxes. Some supporters whose retirement accounts contain stock have donated the stock to the Land Trust specifically to avoid capital gains taxes, while at the same time achieving their desired goal of supporting our mission.

Individuals with IRAs that have a required minimum distribution (RMD) may choose to give to the Land Trust directly from their IRAs as a qualified charitable distribution. This kind of gift counts toward required minimum distributions while benefitting the Land Trust and, like any contribution, to the entire community.

An estate plan that protects you and your beneficiaries can be a tax-savvy financial strategy that also supports nonprofits that you care about like the Land Trust.  The Land Trust website has examples of language that can be used when leaving a bequest in a will and information about different ways of legacy giving. But, because estate planning can be complex, it’s important that you consult with your attorney or financial advisor who can best help you carry out your wishes. 

The John Willits Legacy Circle recognizes those who have made planned gifts to the Land Trust. Named after the man who helped lead the Land Trust for more than 20 years and planted thousands of trees across Clallam County, the John Willits Legacy Circle connects like-minded individuals dedicated to preserving the North Olympic Peninsula today and for future generations. As a part of this special community of donors, you will be honored with a tree in the John Willits Legacy Grove at the Lyre River Conservation Area and invited to the private, annual John Willits Legacy Circle celebration.

If you have questions or would like to discuss your intentions regarding the Land Trust, please contact Development Director Alex Wilson at 360.417.1815 x3 or email him at If you’ve already named the Land Trust in your estate plans, please consider letting us know so that we can express our appreciation for your generosity.