Thank you so much for your interest in considering a Legacy Gift to Berkshire Humane Society. Berkshire Humane Society exists only because of the generosity of others.

Below, you’ll find important information on creating or updating your financial and estate plans—all while helping homeless animals in the greater Berkshire County region.  

Whether you choose to name Berkshire Humane Society in your will or trust or give through your retirement fund or life insurance, these planning options help ensure that we’ll be here, committed to the welfare of animals, for many years.

Please let us know if you have included Berkshire Humane Society in your estate plans. We don’t need to know the details; we would simply like to thank you and invite you to join the Founder’s Legacy Society.

The Rewards of Legacy Giving

Legacy gifts or Planned gifts, donations that are made through your long-term estate or financial plans, allow you to contribute to a cause you care deeply about, while also considering your financial needs and tax-planning strategies.

Not only will these gifts make a life-changing difference to the homeless pets in our care, they can also improve your financial and tax situation—both now and in the future.

These types of gifts may allow you to:
Receive a current income-tax deduction
Eliminate long-term capital gains tax
Reduce possible estate and gift taxes

Because these types of gifts are often deferred until after your lifetime, your current income or assets aren’t affected. And with many planned gifts, you have the right to change your mind at any time throughout your lifetime as your personal situation and finances change.

Gift Recognition

The Founder’s Legacy Society honors individuals who have included Berkshire Humane Society in their estate plans.

Planned Giving Opportunities

Wills and Living Trusts

Making a bequest to Berkshire Humane Society in your will or living trust is simple.

You can decide whether you prefer to leave a percentage of your estate to us, a specific amount of money or item, or make the gift contingent on certain events. If your estate is subject to estate tax, there may be tax savings for your estate.

This type of gift is completely revocable, you can change your mind at any time.


  • Distribute your assets according to your wishes.
  • Save on estate taxes with proper planning.
  • Make a bequest without giving up assets today.
  • Change your mind at any time.

Sample Language

To create a bequest to Berkshire Humane Society, please provide your estate planning attorney with the following sample bequest language:

Bequest a Percentage of Your Estate

Designate a percentage of your overall estate, which allows you to increase your gift as your assets increase without revising your will.

“l [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath X percent of my estate to Berkshire Humane Society for its unrestricted use and purpose.”

Gift of Residuary Estate

Make a residual gift after other bequests are distributed.

“I give and bequeath the residue [or X percent of the residue] of my estate to Berkshire Humane Society.”

Outright Bequest of Money

Give a specific dollar amount or a piece of personal or real property.

“I give and bequeath the sum of $X to Berkshire Humane Society, a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation with principal offices at BERKSHIRE HUMANE SOCIETY ADDRESS”

Contingent Gift

Name Berkshire Humane Society as a contingent beneficiary for any of the above, should your primary beneficiary not outlive you.

“If [name of primary beneficiary] does not survive me, I give and bequeath my estate to Berkshire Humane Society.”

Gifts of Cash

You can support Berkshire Humane Society during your lifetime with an outright gift of cash. You may also designate the Organization as a beneficiary of a bank account by completing a pay-on-death form. This does not require changing your will or trust and can usually be completed with a simple form.


  • Get an immediate income tax deduction.

Gifts of Securities

An outright gift may meet your needs if you have securities that you’ve owned for more than one year and are worth more than you originally paid for them, and if you want to avoid paying taxes on their appreciation.


  • Get an immediate charitable deduction.
  • Eliminate long-term capital gains tax.

Gift of Retirement Plan Assets

You can name Berkshire Humane Society as a primary or secondary beneficiary to receive all or a portion of the proceeds from retirement assets such as an IRA, 401 (k) or 403(b) plan.


  • Eliminate all federal income and estate taxes when you name Berkshire Humane Society as the beneficiary.
  • Receive partial tax savings when you give Berkshire Humane Society a specific amount before giving your family the remainder.
  • Make the most cost-effective gift you can make, saving other less-taxed items for loved ones.

Gift of Life Insurance Policies

You can name Berkshire Humane Society as the primary or secondary beneficiary of all or a portion of your life insurance policies. You also can make an outright gift during your lifetime of fully paid life insurance policies that you no longer need.


  • Your estate will not pay estate taxes on the policy proceeds Berkshire Humane Society receives.
  • If you make Berkshire Humane Society owner of the policy, you will normally receive an income tax deduction equal to the policy’s replacement value. If that value exceeds your tax basis in the policy, the deduction is limited to the basis.

Gift of Real Estate 

Make a gift of real estate that is no longer needed to Berkshire Humane Society. This may include homes or property.


  • Get an income tax deduction.
  • Enjoy a reduction or elimination of long-term capital gains tax.

Gifts of Personal Property

A collection or personal item may make a great outright gift to Berkshire Humane Society.

Please note: Berkshire Humane Society is prepared to accept most gifts of personal property, but we are limited in our capacity to manage certain items.  Please contact us as you are establishing your estate plans to ensure we’re able to accept your item(s).


  • Get a charitable deduction based upon the fair market value of the item, if the gift is related to Berkshire Humane Society’s tax-exempt function.

The information in this document is not intended as legal advice and may not reflect current law. We recommend that you retain an attorney who specializes in estate planning so the people and organizations you care about will derive the greatest advantage from your gifts. We will be happy to work with your advisors to help you plan for tomorrow and receive maximum benefits today.

The following is essential information to share with your estate planning attorney:

Our Legal Name: Berkshire Humane Society Inc
Federal Tax Id: 04-3148018
Business Address: 214 Barker Road, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201
Type of Entity: Massachusetts 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation

To learn more about planned giving and the Founder’s Legacy Society, please contact John Perrault by phone at +1 (413) 447-7878 or by email.

Berkshire Humane Society is a local, independent, nonprofit organization that relies on donations. We are not an affiliate of any national animal welfare groups.

Please consult your financial advisor for details on all these options.