Monterey Bay Aquarium

Make the Most of Your
Retirement Plan Assets

Avoid Taxation and Support Our Work

Did you know that retirement accounts are exposed to federal income taxes that could be as much as 37 percent upon your death? The good news is that these taxes can be eliminated or reduced through a carefully planned charitable gift.

Consider leaving your loved ones less heavily taxed assets and leaving your retirement plan assets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to support our work. As a nonprofit organization, we are tax-exempt and will receive the full amount of what you designate to us from your plan. You can take advantage of this gift opportunity in several ways, illustrated on the following pages.

Retirement Plan Assets

3 Ways to Donate Your Retirement Account


List the Aquarium as a beneficiary of your account.
The simplest way to leave the balance of a retirement account to the Monterey Bay Aquarium after your lifetime is to list the Aquarium as the beneficiary on the form provided by your plan administrator. If you are married, your spouse must sign a written waiver.


Make the Aquarium a contingent beneficiary.
If you prefer to make your spouse the primary beneficiary of your retirement account, you can name the Monterey Bay Aquarium as the contingent beneficiary. Want your children to benefit, too? Designate a specific amount for the Aquarium with the remainder for your children.


Give from your IRA.
If you are at least 72 years old and haven’t yet met your minimum required distribution for the year, your IRA gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement. (Note: The RMD requirement has been waived for 2020, per the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020.) You can give any amount up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to a qualified charity such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium without having to pay income taxes on the money.

Retirement Plan Assets

Example: Tax-Smart Planning

A longtime donor with a $1.5 million estate wants to leave the Monterey Bay Aquarium a gift valued at $750,000. They also want to leave something to their only daughter who is in the 32 percent federal income tax bracket. Take a look at the options.

Option 1: Our donor divides assets equally between the daughter and the Aquarium.

Daughter Us
IRA $375,000 $375,000
Other assets (house, securities, cash) $375,000 $375,000
Federal income tax owed ($120,000) ($0)
Net amount to beneficiary after taxes $630,000 $750,000

Option 2: Our donor names the Aquarium the beneficiary of retirement plan assets and leaves the daughter all other assets.

Daughter Us
IRA $0 $750,000
Other assets (house, securities, cash) $750,000 $0
Federal income tax owed ($0) ($0)
Net amount to beneficiary after taxes $750,000 $750,000
Retirement Plan Assets

Next Steps

For more information, please seek guidance from an estate planning attorney, a CPA or other tax professional. We would be happy to answer any questions regarding charitable giving that you or your advisors may have. Feel free to contact us at no obligation.

Eric Weis
Gift Planning Manager
Phone: 831.648.4877
Fax: 831.644.7554
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940

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Retirement Plan Assets

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Someone from the Monterey Bay Aquarium will be in contact with you soon. If you need to speak to us immediately, please call us at 831.648.4877.