Skip to main content

Review Your Plans

It is always a good idea to take a moment and make the necessary steps to update your estate plans—so they reflect any recent changes in your life.

During this challenging period, we are thinking of you and your loved ones. Our work in cancer challenges us to face the unprecedented, and we are applying the same approach to the evolving situation posed by Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Meeting the needs of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) patients and continuing critically important work are our highest priorities, and generous donors who make planned gifts help ensure we can.

Use the following checklist to see if you are prepared for anything unexpected in the future, and for the careful management and distribution of your assets.

  • Review your will, checking for any changes that may need to be made because of a change in your life or that of a beneficiary’s, tax law changes, or because you want to add a gift to MSK in your plans.
  • Check that the executor you’ve named is still the qualified individual you want to manage your estate, resolve claims, minimize taxes, and distribute the designated portions of your estate to your chosen beneficiaries.
  • Be sure you are comfortable with the guardian named in your will for those under your care. If your dependents were minor children that are grown now, does a guardian still need to be listed?
  • Update beneficiaries designated for your insurance policies and retirement plans to make sure you haven’t named a loved one that is now deceased or former spouse. Name backup beneficiaries, too. Consider naming MSK as a beneficiary of your insurance policies or retirement plans if you have not already done so.
  • Make sure the titles for your assets reflect your current circumstances and wishes, so they go to the people and organizations you intend.
  • Implement plans that minimize federal estate taxes. One possible solution is to leave a charitable gift to MSK.
  • Include in your estate plans a health care power of attorney to guide your family and health care providers when you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Please contact the Office of Planned Giving at 800-688-1827 or if you would like to extend your support for MSK. We would be happy to help you design a gift that fits your goals. If you have already included MSK in your long-range plans, please let us know.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 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 bequeath to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a New York nonprofit corporation having a principal place of business at 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, Federal Tax ID #13-1924236, ____percent of my total estate (or $_____, or other property) to be used or disposed of as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in its sole discretion deems appropriate.

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 MSK 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, timeshare property, 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 MSK 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 MSK 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 MSK where you agree to make a gift to MSK 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.

A tax imposed at one's death on the transfer of most types of property. Currently federal estate taxes are assessed in 2020 on estates worth more than $11.2 million. The maximum estate tax rate is 40 percent. Some states also impose taxes at death that vary depending on state law.

A written legal instrument created by a grantor for the benefit of him/herself (during life) or others (during life or at death).

A revocable trust established by a grantor during his or her lifetime in which the grantor transfers some or all of his or her property into the trust.

Equity or debt instruments, typically shares listed on a stock exchange, which can be readily bought or sold.