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Partners in Trust - Claire Schneck

Lester and Claire SchneckIn Loving Memory: Daughter Designates GDA in Her Inheritance

Lester Schneck was a member of the IAM for more than 50 years. According to his daughter Claire, he was proud to be a part of the organization that founded Guide Dogs of America. Through the years, as he read the union's newsletter, he would comment to her about the fundraising events the local unions held to benefit GDA.

When her father passed away in 2012 at the age of 96, Schneck inherited his estate. As an only child and without any children of her own, Schneck wanted to honor her father's memory and began to think about what was most important to him. It was eyesight.

In his later years, Schneck's father developed macular degeneration. While her father never lost his vision completely, he knew that it was a real possibility that he could wake up one morning and it would be gone. In addition to what he learned about GDA through his affiliation with the union, Schneck's father saw, firsthand, the difference a guide dog makes in the life of someone who is blind. At church, Schneck and her father saw a married couple, both of whom had guide dogs, and met many people who had guide dogs at meetings for those with vision loss. Father and daughter came to learn how much these people relied on their guide dogs. They would tell the Schnecks that they would be lost without their dogs.

"My father never had to get a guide dog but I know that had his vision deteriorated to a point that he could no longer get around on his own he definitely would have wanted one," Schneck said. "Not only had he seen how these dogs helped their partners but he was a lifelong dog lover who would have enjoyed the companionship that comes from having a guide dog.

"I thought about the charities that I would want to benefit from my father's estate, and GDA came to mind. I contacted the school and asked what I needed to do to designate GDA in my will and I became a Partner in Trust."

Schneck shares information about GDA with her friends, sending articles from the newsletter that she feels they would be interested in.

"I especially like the articles about the graduates and learning about the difference the dogs have made in their lives," said Schneck. "If my dad would have gone blind, he wouldn't have gone out and done anything but if he would have had a guide dog that could have been much different."

For information about becoming a Partner in Trust, please contact Rhonda Bissell at 818-833-6432.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Guide Dogs of America 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to International Guiding Eyes, Inc., dba: Guide Dogs of America located at 13445 Glenoaks Blvd, Sylmar, CA 91342 [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose.”

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 GDA 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 GDA 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 GDA 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 GDA where you agree to make a gift to GDA 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.

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