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Gifts Made by Beneficiary Designations

When you make a gift to San Francisco Opera from your retirement, insurance plan assets, or other assets you ensure our Company’s future – and reap personal benefits. Start by contacting the firm that holds your assets and ask them for a beneficiary form to fill out. Know that your beneficiary form takes precedence over any contradictory language that may be in your will or trust.


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When can I make a retirement plan gift?

You can make a gift from your 401(k) or other qualified retirement plan by naming San Francisco Opera as a beneficiary.

How do I go about making a gift?

You have three options:

  • If you want San Francisco Opera to receive all of your retirement plan assets, you may name the Opera as your plan’s beneficiary.
  • If you want San Francisco Opera to receive a portion of your remaining plan assets, you may name the Opera as a beneficiary along with other beneficiaries.
  • If you want San Francisco Opera to receive your retirement assets only after your spouse or other primary beneficiary is deceased, you may name the Opera as a contingent beneficiary.

How do I benefit from a retirement plan gift?

Making a gift from your retirement plan enables you to leave assets to beneficiaries at a lower tax cost. Since San Francisco Opera is tax-exempt, making the Company, instead of heirs, a beneficiary of your retirement plan means that 100% of your gift passes to San Francisco Opera. If these assets are given to a loved one, other than a spouse, income and possibly estate taxes may reduce the size of your gift.

If your life insurance assets are no longer needed – for example, if your children are grown or your spouse is financially secure – give those assets to the Opera. You may also be able to reduce income or estate taxes.

Savings Bonds: If you have bonds that have stopped earning interest, and you plan to redeem them, you will owe income tax on the appreciation. Leaving them to loved ones means they will owe income tax when they cash the bonds, and potentially estate taxes. In the end, your heirs will receive only a fraction of the value of the bonds in which you so carefully invested. Since San Francisco Opera is tax-exempt, naming us the beneficiary of these bonds will ensure that 100 percent of your gift will pass to the Company.

CDs, Bank and Brokerage Accounts: One of the easiest ways you can ensure the future of opera for generations to come is by making San Francisco Opera the beneficiary of a certificate of deposit, a checking or savings bank account, or brokerage account.

Donor Advised Fund Residuals: Final distribution of contributions remaining in a Donor Advised Fund is governed by the contract you completed when you created your fund. We hope you will consider naming San Francisco Opera a “successor” of your account. Or, you can name us the successor for a portion of the account value, leaving the remaining portion for your children or grandchildren.