Planned Giving Program – Retirement Accounts

In many cases, retirement plan assets may be the best asset to contribute to the Society. Upon death, retirement plan assets are subject to both estate and income taxes which means a substantial portion of such assets will likely go to the Internal Revenue Service. Making the Society the beneficiary of an IRA or other retirement account(s) removes the assets from the donor’s estate and lowers the taxes payable on the donor’s death.

How It Works:

  • The donor directs the plan administrator to include The Chicago Philharmonic Society as a (or the) beneficiary of the donor’s IRA or other retirement plan and executes the forms provided by the plan administrator; or
  • The donor files with the custodian of his or her IRA, or other retirement plan, a new beneficiary form designating The Chicago Philharmonic Society as the, or one of the, beneficiaries, in whole or in part, by whatever percentage the donor determines.
  • As in the case of a charitable bequest, an IRA or other retirement plan contribution can be directed to the Society’s General Endowment Fund or to a specific fund earlier established by the IRA owner ($25,000 minimum).
  • If as the account holder the donor has a surviving spouse, a written waiver from such spouse is necessary to include or provide for the Society for it to become a beneficiary.


  • IRA or other retirement plan gifts minimize both estate and income taxes.
  • Taxable estates are reduced by the amount of the IRA, or other retirement plan assets, which are contributed.
  • A donor owns and benefits from the IRA or other retirement plan assets right up to the date of death, as of which date IRA or plan assets may be conveyed directly and promptly to the Society without waiting for the settlement of the estate.

Whereas previously the tax benefits of retirement account gifts had required continuous renewal by the United States Congress to be applicable (the benefit had, for a period of time, expired), in December 2015, Congress approved a measure that permanently secures the IRA Charitable Rollover benefit. The IRA Charitable Rollover allows donors age 70½ and older to give to charities up to $100,000 tax-free annually from their IRAs. Read more.

Back to the Planned Giving Program summary page

Banner photo by Elliot Mandel