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David Alsop smilingThe house I grew up in far northern NJ had a mile of woods behind it that extended back to the mainline of the Eire RR. These woods had many revolutionary war-era stonewalls, numerous signs of being more recently cut over, and many had toppled over shallow-rooted trees and various gigantic logs of the American Chestnut that had fallen in the 1930's by an invasive fungus. Every year or so, a ground fire ignited by the stream engines of the Eire Rail Road would go running through these woods.

It took me many years of traveling through almost all of the National Forests of the Eastern United States to realize that what I had grown up with was not at all unusual. Almost all of the Eastern US forests have been repeatedly cut over, have had many fires burn through them, have seen the ravages of hurricanes, and almost all have lost the once most dominant tree of their forests, the American Chestnut.

Fifteen years later, I went home to find many streets and houses with lawns where there was once woods that I had grown up with and wandered.

This discovery, more than anything else, lead me to actively support The Wildness Society and others for their work to preserve and prevent the inroads of our steel and cement society into our National Forest system. Because of them, many people will able to see forests. Admittedly, the forests are not as they originally once were, but have been recovering from our past predations. Yet, most of them, when looked at carefully, display much of their history. All of this all must be preserved so that future generations can enjoy what we were able to enjoy many years ago.

NB: one of the few last bits of uncut forest in Eastern US is the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in the Natahala National Forest in far western North Carolina — it has trees well over 300 years old.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Wilderness Society a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to The Wilderness Society, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 1615 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to The Wilderness Society or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Wilderness Society as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Wilderness Society as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and The Wilderness Society where you agree to make a gift to The Wilderness Society and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.