Most legacy gifts cost you nothing now. No immediate contribution is needed, and you can change your mind at any time. Once your family and friends are provided for, we hope you’ll consider making the protection of human rights part of your life story.

In addition to filling an important role in providing for the future financial security of your family and friends, your will or living trust offers a way for you to establish a legacy to protect human rights. It is satisfying to know that a portion of your property will be put to vital long-term use protecting the most vulnerable.

Gifts In Your Will Or Living Trust

Girls sit for lessons on the stairwell inside a school building. Overcrowding – compounded by the demand for gender segregation – means that schools typically divide their days into two or three shifts, resulting in a school day too short to cover the full curriculum. © 2017 Paula Bronstein for Human Rights Watch

A gift made through a will or living trust is convenient to arrange. A simple provision or amendment prepared by your attorney at the time you make or update your will or trust is all that is necessary. Gifts included in wills and living trusts are popular because they are flexible, easy to arrange, and may be changed with your life circumstances.

Here are the most popular ways to give through wills and trusts:

  • Make a gift of a specific amount.
  • Make a gift of a percentage of your estate.
  • Give the remainder, or residue, of your estate to Human Rights Watch—that is, what remains after all other bequests to friends and loved ones are satisfied.
  • Provide for a gift of a particular property. Real estate, stocks, and other items of value are examples of properties that can be used to fund charitable bequests.
  • Name charitable interests to receive a bequest in the event other heirs are not there to receive their legacies.

There is no limit on amounts deductible from federal gift and estate taxes for charitable gifts made by will or trust. No tax will be due on assets which are given in this way. To plan a charitable gift through your will or living trust, inform your attorney of your wishes.

Through our partnership with FreeWill, we’ve made it easy for you to create the official legal document and start your estate planning.

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

More Information About Living Trusts

Children play along dirt roads at an informal settlement for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Kabul. IDPs and returning refugees often struggle to get their children into school as they try to settle into a new location, often having endured trauma and loss of possessions and livelihood through flight or deportation. © 2017 Paula Bronstein fro Human Rights Watch

A living trust is a written legal document that partially substitutes for a will. With a living trust, your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the trust. It is administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your living and charitable beneficiaries when you die.

Most people name themselves as the trustee in charge of managing their trust’s assets. This way, even though your assets have been put into the trust, you remain in control of your assets during your lifetime. You can also name a successor trustee (a person or an institution) who will manage the trust’s assets if you ever become unable or unwilling to do so yourself.

The benefits sought in creating such a trust include:

  • Bypass estate administration (“probate”).
  • Gives the trustee the legal right to manage and control the assets held in your trust.
  • Instructs the trustee to manage the trust’s assets for your benefit during your lifetime.
  • Obtain privacy regarding one’s estate plan. If the trust contains real estate the trust agreement generally will have to be recorded and will then become a matter of public record.
  • Names the beneficiaries (persons or charitable organizations) who are to receive your trust’s assets when you die.

Trusts should always be drafted or reviewed by your attorney or other advisors.

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 through your will or trust. 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.

No cost gifts

Gifts Through Your Will or Trust

Gifts by Beneficiary Designation

Gifts by Beneficiary Designation

Gifts that pay

Gifts That Pay You Income

Other ways to leave a legacy

Other Ways to Leave a Legacy

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