Transforming Realty to Gift Reality

Real Estate

Learn more about the many ways to use real estate to support The Wilderness Society in the FREE guide 7 Ways to Donate Real Estate.

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Want to make a big difference for wilderness without touching your bank account? Consider giving us real estate. A gift of real estate helps us continue our work for years to come. And, a gift of real estate also helps you.

When you give us appreciated property you have held longer than one year, you get a federal income tax charitable deduction, avoid paying capital gains tax, and no longer have to deal with that property's maintenance costs, property taxes, or insurance.

In addition to those benefits, you don't have to hassle with selling the real estate. You can deed the property directly to The Wilderness Society or ask your attorney to add a few sentences in your will or trust agreement.

Ways to Give Real Estate

You can give real estate to The Wilderness Society in the following ways:

Enter just a few details to see the benefits of an outright gift.

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Outright gift. When you make a gift today of real estate you have owned longer than one year, you obtain a federal income tax charitable deduction equal to the property's full fair market value. This deduction lets you reduce the cost of making the gift and frees cash that otherwise would have been used to pay taxes. By donating the property to us, you also eliminate capital gains tax on its appreciation. Furthermore, the transfer is not subject to the gift tax, and the gift reduces your future taxable estate.

Gift in your will or living trust. A gift of real estate through your will or living trust allows you the potential to support our work with a larger gift than you could during your lifetime with the flexibility to change your mind. In as little as one sentence or two, you can ensure that your support for The Wilderness Society continues after your lifetime and that your estate will benefit from a federal estate tax charitable deduction.

Enter just a few details to see the benefits of a retained life estate.

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Retained life estate. Like the tax advantages a gift of real estate to our organization would offer, but want to continue living in your personal residence for your lifetime? You can irrevocably transfer your personal residence or farm to The Wilderness Society and keep the right to occupy (or rent out) the home for the rest of your life. You’ll continue to pay real estate taxes, maintenance fees, and insurance on the property. Even though we wouldn’t take possession of the residence until after your lifetime, you’ll receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction for a portion of your home's value.

Enter just a few details to see the benefits of a deferred charitable gift annuity.

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Deferred charitable gift annuity. Are you tired of the hassles of maintaining your property such as paying taxes, utilities, and repair bills? Consider donating the property to The Wilderness Society in exchange for reliable payments for life for you (and someone else, if you choose). When you arrange a charitable gift annuity, you're allowed a federal income tax charitable deduction in the year you set up the gift annuity when you itemize on your taxes. If you use appreciated real estate to make a gift, you can usually eliminate capital gains tax on a portion of the gift and spread the rest of the gain over your life expectancy. A gift of unmortgaged property to fund a deferred gift annuity is preferable and generates the greatest tax benefit.

Enter just a few details to see the benefits of a bargain sale.

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Bargain sale. Want to make a generous gift in support of wilderness, retain a portion of the value of your property, and receive a lump sum of cash and a charitable deduction at the same time? A "bargain sale" may be the answer. When you make a bargain sale, you sell your property to The Wilderness Society for less than what it's worth. Your gift to us is the difference between the actual value and the sale price of the property.

Enter just a few details to see the benefits of a charitable remainder unitrust.

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Charitable remainder unitrust. You can contribute any type of unmortgaged, appreciated real estate you've owned for more than one year in exchange for an income stream for life, or a term of up to 20 years. The donated property may be a residence (a personal residence must be vacant upon contribution), undeveloped land, or a farm or commercial property. Real estate works well with only certain variations of charitable remainder trusts. Your estate planning attorney, who will draft your trust, can give you more details.

Charitable lead trust. This gift can be a wonderful way for you to further our work while simultaneously transferring appreciated real estate to your family tax-free. You should consider funding the charitable lead trust with real estate that is income-producing and expected to increase in value over the term of the trust.

Memorial or endowed gift. A gift of real estate may be a perfect way to honor your loved one in perpetuity. When you make an endowed gift of real estate, your contribution is invested with and becomes part of our endowment. An annual distribution is made for the purpose you designate. Because the principal remains intact, the fund will generate support in perpetuity.

Donor advised fund. When you transfer real estate to your donor advised fund, you avoid capital gains taxes and receive a federal income tax deduction based on the fair market value of the property.

Check Out This Potential Scenario

Janet purchased her home years ago and has watched it grow steadily in value. Still active in her career and traveling frequently, she's beginning to find home ownership more and more of a hassle. At this stage of her life, Janet has decided to move to a 55+ condominium development, where all exterior maintenance is provided and she doesn't have to worry about security issues. Janet sees this as an opportunity to give her existing house to a charity that's important to her while realizing valuable tax benefits.

Janet qualifies for a federal income tax charitable deduction of $250,000, which is for her home's fair market value today. She is able to claim 30% of her $200,000 adjusted gross income, or $60,000, in the year of the gift. In the five years following, she can continue to use up the remaining $190,000 deduction. Janet is happy in her new condo and loves knowing that the gift of her house will make a big difference to protect our irreplaceable wild places.

For many people, real estate is their biggest investment and their largest asset. Contact us to talk through ways to unlock the value of your real estate and how a gift of real estate can help you make a difference for our wild places.

Learn more about the many ways to use real estate to support The Wilderness Society in the FREE guide 7 Ways to Donate Real Estate.

View Your Free Brochure

Not Sure How to Begin Planning?

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Next Steps

Please consider making a gift of real estate to protect our wild spaces.

  1. Contact us at 1-888-736-4897 or giftplanning@tws.org to discuss the possibility of giving real estate to The Wilderness Society.
  2. Seek the advice of your financial or legal advisor to make sure this gift fits your goals.
  3. Please consider including The Wilderness Society in your estate plans. Here is our legal name and federal tax ID for you to share with your advisor:

    Legal Name: The Wilderness Society
    Address: 1615 M Street, NW, Washington, DC  20036
    Federal Tax ID Number: 53-0167933