Continue your support for Human Rights Watch for years to come by naming our organization as a beneficiary of your retirement account, life insurance plan, bank account, or other assets. This is one of the easiest ways to give. It doesn’t require an estate plan or lawyer, and you can change your beneficiaries at any time.

It only takes three simple steps to make this type of gift:

  1. Contact your retirement plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution for a change-of-beneficiary form.
  2. Decide what percentage (1 to 100) you would like us to receive and name us, along with the percentage you chose, on the beneficiary form.
  3. Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution.

Retirement Plan Gift

Fearing for their lives due to threats from local residents in their village in Uttar Pradesh after they stopped manual scavenging work, Jagrani, Sarojadevi, Guddidevi, and Meenadevi went to the police station five kilometers away to seek protection. © 2014 Digvijay Singh

There are excellent tax benefits from donating retirement plan assets in an IRA, 401(K), 403(B), or qualified pension to Human Rights Watch. If you designate payment of retirement plan assets to anyone other than a charity, the recipient will have to pay income taxes on the distributions from the retirement plan. However, because Human Rights Watch is tax-exempt, we will receive the full value of the distributions without tax. Additionally, the retirement assets designated to Human Rights Watch will not be a part of your taxable estate, thereby reducing the amount of the taxable estate and potentially lowering estate taxes owed.

To donate assets in your retirement plan to Human Rights Watch, simply complete a beneficiary designation form from your plan administrator.

Life Insurance Plan Gift

Aung Thay is protesting the Burmese government’s decision to seize his and others’ land near the Ye Bo dam, constructed in 2006. The government still has not provided financial or other compensation to him or his fellow villagers. © 2015 Patrick Brown for Human Rights Watch

As life progresses, children become self-sufficient and other accumulated assets may provide sufficient financial security for you and your heirs. As a result, not all life insurance coverage may be needed for the reason it was initially purchased.

Such policies can make excellent gifts, either outright or through a beneficiary designation. If you make Human Rights Watch a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, the value of the policy will not be part of your taxable estate, thereby reducing the size of the taxable estate and potentially lowering estate taxes owed.

Simply determine what percentage you would like to donate to Human Rights Watch, and contact your insurance company or agent to request a beneficiary designation form to change the named beneficiary upon your death.

Bank and Investment Accounts

A portrait of Father Bernard Kinvi, a Catholic priest who directs the hospital at the Catholic mission in Bossemptele, northwest Central African Republic. When brutal sectarian violence erupted in the country in 2013, Father Kinvi saved the lives of hundreds of besieged Muslims, whom he gathered from their homes and sheltered in the Catholic church. © 2014 Peter Bouckaert/Human Rights Watch

Bank and Investment Accounts can be left directly to family, friends, or a charitable interest, like Human Rights Watch, at the end of one’s lifetime. This can often be accomplished using a “pay on death” (P.O.D.) provision for a bank account or CD. A “transfer on death” (T.O.D.) provision is used for certain other investment accounts. Simply ask your bank manager or financial advisor for the appropriate form. You retain full ownership and access to the funds during your lifetime and the person or charity only receives what is left in the account.

We are grateful that you would consider having a profound and lasting effect on protecting human rights worldwide. Please let us know if you have included a gift for by beneficiary designation. Letting us know of your gift is the best way to ensure that your wishes are honored.

For more information, please contact Brian Peterson, Director of Legacy and Gift Planning, at or 1-800-220-3078.

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