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Estate Planning

Braille for Life Alliance

Planned giving is a wise investment that can provide considerable tax benefits and income for you and your loved ones. The Braille for Life Alliance honors supporters who wish to support our mission into the future by making provisions for National Braille Press in their estate plans - either by will, trust, or life income gifts.

By becoming a member of the Braille for Life Alliance, your generosity will live on in the creation of braille books that are put in the hands of blind children and adults. Your gift has a meaningful and lasting impact on braille readers.

Join the Braille for Life Alliance

  • The Braille for Life Alliance honors supporters who wish to support our mission into the future by making provisions for National Braille Press in their estate plans - either by will, trust, or life income gifts.
  • By becoming a member of the Braille for Life Alliance, your generosity will live on in the creation of braille books that will end up in the hands of blind children and adults who will read them. Your gift will have a positive and lasting impact.

Enrolling is Simple

The only qualification for membership is to advise National Braille Press that some sort of testamentary provision has been made. The size of the gift does not matter. Legacy gifts can take many forms:
  • Bequests in wills or living trusts.
  • Retirement plan or IRA beneficiary designations.
  • Gift of life insurance.
  • Life income gifts through a charitable remainder trust, pooled income fund or gift annuity.
  • A Special Community.
  • As a Braille for Life Alliance member, you will receive special invitations to NBP events.
  • Unless you choose to remain anonymous, your name is displayed in our Annual Report.
  • You will receive a Legacy Society certificate of enrollment. You will also receive periodic information about recent and future National Braille Press initiatives, information on Legacy events, plus helpful estate planning tips.

Perhaps you have been thinking about how you can make the world a better place for family, for friends, and for those organizations that do good work to improve the lives of those in our community. Perhaps you have already experienced how a bequest can change a life. And, perhaps, you have even been considering how a gift made under your will could benefit others by benefiting a charity that embraces the values you have held close throughout your life.

To write a will is to make a profoundly personal statement of what matters most to you. To write a will is to thoughtfully, carefully, determine your legacy to those close to you and to those served by the non-profits in whose mission you believe.

When should you make estate plans?
  • When you experience life changing events such as marriage, divorce or become widowed
  • Upon the birth or death of family members whom you would consider heirs
  • If the value of your assets changes in some significant way
  • If you need to change the executor of your current will
  • When the needs your current will addresses are no longer necessary
  • When you wish to provide for a charity's endowment, capital needs or current operations but prefer to do so through your estate plans
  • If you would like to change your provisions for your heirs to take into account the needs of specific individuals
  • When federal and/or state laws change regarding either taxes or inheritance
As you do so you will want to remember a few key points:
  • First, and foremost, it is always wise to seek the guidance of qualified counsel. Many sources are available but you will want to use the services of someone well-qualified in the area of estate taxes. In other words, the lawyer who helped you sell your home may not be the best-qualified when it comes to thinking about how your estate will be distributed. Ask friends and associates for referrals, seek names from resources such as your local bank or contact your state or city bar association.
  • For individuals with children, make the naming of a guardian your highest priority.
  • Inventory all your assets, noting date and value at acquisition as well as current value. All too often individuals who feel that the value of their assets does not warrant a will are surprised to learn otherwise. Don't forget to list insurance policies in addition to the traditional assets of real property, stocks, bonds and tangible personal property, such as jewelry, artwork or collections. Additionally, you will want to be sure that mementoes or heirlooms are noted and passed on in ways that reflect the love and care that you have shown.
  • Make a list of those family and friends for whom you would wish to make financial provisions.
  • With the assistance of counsel determine whether the use of trusts or annuities might be a better way to provide for the unique needs of some of your named heirs, such as continued care for adult children with disabilities, educational funds for grandchildren, or supplemental retirement income for siblings.
  • Contact the charities that you want to remember in your will to insure accuracy in name as well as location. Many charities operate under similar names. You will want to be sure that those you care for receive your support. Likewise, be aware that many national organizations have local chapters. A quick telephone call can best inform you as to how you can remember the charities of your choice as you consider your legacy. Chances are, they can provide you and your lawyer with the specific language you will need.
  • Finally, recognize that if you should die without a will the law will decide how your assets will be distributed among your heirs - and to the government. Good planning will preserve your assets for those you love and minimize, through good tax planning, what the government is entitled to receive.

Some Common Estate Planning Myths

  1. Estate planning is only for the wealthy
    • Everybody has an estate.
    • Estates are made up of: savings, retirement accounts, jewelry and real estate.
    • Ensuring that your life's work is passed on to the next generation is a worthwhile step to improve the lives of the people and charitable institutions that are important to you.
  2. Creating a Legacy Gift is a complicated process
    • NBP can be named as partial beneficiary (1-99%) of either a retirement plan or life insurance policy which can be done through the provider. Amending an existing will by adding a provision or codicil is a quick and easy way to leave a bequest.
  3. There is no immediate benefit to my financial situation by making a legacy commitment.
    • Legacy commitments can bolster your retirement resources.
    • Legacy gifts offer tax benefits to you and your loved ones.
    • Secure fixed lifetime income with some of the most favorable rates in the market today.
  4. Legacy gifts must be millions of dollars to matter.
    • A legacy gift makes a significant impact regardless of its size.
  5. Estate Gifts are not as important to NBP as annual gifts.
    • National Braille Press needs your current and future support to ensure its success.

Your legacy gift has an enduring impact on blind children and adults you will never meet. You may choose to support a program that has particular meaning or make an unrestricted gift that enables NBP to address its most urgent needs. Either way, you join a special group of friends who have secured the future of braille and NBP.

  • Charitable gift annuities provide a good option for those who seek to guarantee income for themselves while also supporting the charities in which they believe.
  • Charitable gift annuities have long been a part of America's philanthropic landscape. In essence they are simple contracts whereby an organization, in exchange for a gift such as stock, cash, or real property will promise to make income payments for the lifetime of the beneficiaries designated by the donor (up to a maximum of two). Most often the income beneficiary is also the donor and/or a spouse; however, annuities can be used to provide for others such as parents, siblings, or even children.
  • How much might the donor reasonably expect to receive as payment? As a general rule most organizations follow the rates prescribed by the American Council on Gift Annuities. Payout rates are a function of the number and ages of the beneficiaries. For example,
    • Age 65      6.0%
    • Age 75      7.1%
    • Age 85      9.5%
    • Age 90+   11.3%
    • And, for two lives:
    • Age 65       5.6%
    • Age 75       6.3%
    • Age 85       7.9%
    • Age 90+    9.3%
  • Depending upon the nature of the assets used to fund the annuity a portion of the income may avoid taxation, increasing the effective yield. A gift of cash maximizes the amount of tax-free income.
  • For those individuals who hold highly-appreciated assets the charitable gift annuity offers additional benefits. Companies that have seen strong growth over time often have stock that provides investors a lower yield. If stockholders were to sell the stock in order to seek assets with a higher yield they would have to first pay a 20% capital gains tax on all of the growth their stock had seen since they acquired it. Not an especially attractive option. However, if these stockholders were to donate the appreciated stock to the charity of their choice in exchange for a gift annuity they would be able to avoid all capital gain tax and the entire value would be available to them for funding the annuity.
  • Finally, a charitable gift annuity offers two additional benefits: a federal charitable deduction for a portion of the value of the gift and the knowledge that the donor has supported the mission of an organizations whose work deserves recognition. For the individual who wishes to increase income from less-than-productive assets while also supporting charity there are few options as favorable in this economy as the charitable gift annuity.

If you have given thought to a charitable gift annuity, or would like to explore the benefits in confidence, please contact Vice President of Development and Major Gifts, Joe Quintanilla at 617-425-2415 or via email at

Giving can also include naming National Braille Press as a beneficiary in your life insurance policy. Whether you have a term life insurance policy or a type of permanent life insurance like whole life insurance, you can use your life insurance benefit to continue your charitable giving after you're gone, either by listing a charitable organization as your beneficiary, adding a life insurance charitable giving rider, setting up a trust, or even donating your policy. You can leave the entire amount of your death benefit to a charity or designate that only a portion of the proceeds goes to the charity and the remainder to a family member or other beneficiary.

The most tax-effective way to donate life insurance is to transfer the policy so that the charity becomes the owner and beneficiary. You are entitled to an immediate charitable deduction for income tax purposes. If you continue to pay the premiums, each payment is also a deductible charitable donation.

Identify the charity on the form by listing the organization's full name, address and tax ID number. Indicate that the beneficiary is a charity on the designation form.

To learn more about or to join the Braille for Life Alliance, call Vice President of Development and Major Gifts, Joe Quintanilla at 617-425-2415 or email him at

  • Tara Gearhart
  • At the age of 28, sales professional, Tara Gearhart, joined the Braille for Life Alliance. "I included NBP in my will as I believe it is important for myself, and future generations to lead by example and have things that they strongly believe and support in a lifelong manner. I am not blind, but braille is important to me; literacy for all is important!" Nine years later, Tara, her husband Joe, and their little girls, Mable and Ruby are among our biggest supporters. Tara serves on the Executive Committee of our Board of Trustees; helps on our silent and live auction committees and with Joe has run in the Blindfold Challenge raising thousands of dollars for NBP. "If I inspire someone to consider donating so others can experience reading and independence, than I am happy."  Return

  • Tom and Suzette Smith
  • Tom and Suzette joined the Braille for Life Alliance by including NBP in their will. A retired sociology professor at the University of South Carolina, Tom credits braille as a skill that brought him professional success and personal reward. "NBP's print/braille books made it possible for me to read to our daughter and now to our granddaughter, Eva." We are forever grateful for these cherished memories in our lives. We joined the Braille for Life Alliance so that other families, blind parents and sighted children, sighted parents and blind children, can enjoy the experience of reading.  Return

  • William Raeder
  • As president of NBP for 32 years, Bill Raeder's vision ensured that National Braille Press continually made new advances in braille production, publishing, and marketing - all for literacy for blind children and adults. In his retirement, Bill founded the Braille for Life Alliance to provide long-term financial security for NBP and braille. Furthering his legacy, Bill was the first to establish a gift annuity with NBP. In exchange for his gift, he will receive a fixed annual income of 8.4% for the rest of his life.  Return