Planned Giving

Ways to make major and planned gifts

The following information describes various ways you can make charitable gifts to our health system, hospitals and programs.

Outright Gifts:

Cash – Cash is a preferred form of payment for pledges and donors are encouraged to make pledges in support of capital campaigns. Pledging a gift over a five-year period may allow for a more substantial gift and the most beneficial tax treatment.

Marketable Securities – Marketable securities may be donated. If the securities have appreciated, donors not only receive the benefit of the full fair market value as a charitable income tax deduction, but they also avoid the capital gains tax if the securities have been owned for more than one year.

Future Gifts:

Bequests – Gifts made through wills and trusts. Bequests can be made as a specific dollar amount, a percentage of the total estate, or a percentage of the residue of the estate.

Bequests can be made to any of the following Foundations for use at a specific hospital or program within the health system:

Ascension St. John Foundation” can be designated to receive gifts for Ascension St. John Hospital, Ascension Macomb-Oakland Hospital (Warren and Madison Heights Campuses) and Ascension River District Hospital.

Ascension Providence Foundation” can be designated to receive gifts for Ascension Providence Hospital (Southfield and Novi Campuses) and Ascension Brighton Center for Recovery.

Donors are encouraged to restrict their bequest gifts for use within specific programs or toward areas of greatest capital need (as determined by the respective hospital president at the time of gift receipt).

Real Estate – A donor can contribute a real estate interest outright or retain a life estate in the property. A life estate allows the donor to retain the right to reside at the property for the duration of their lifetime. A retained life estate allows the donor an immediate income tax charitable deduction for the current value of the Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation's right to the property at death. An outright donation of real estate held for more than one year entitles donor to claim a charitable income tax deduction for the property’s fair market value, up to 30% of adjusted gross income in the year of the gift. Capital gains and estate taxes are also avoided on donations of real estate to Ascension St. John Foundation and Ascension Providence Foundation.

Note: Gifts of real estate must be reviewed by the administrative officers of the hospitals and the Foundations prior to gift acceptance. Further, Ascension SE Michigan and Ascension St. John Foundation and Ascension Providence Foundation reserve the right to decline acceptance of such gifts. Lastly, real estate gifts must be evaluated prior to acceptance by a qualified appraiser at the expense of the donor.

Beneficiary Designations:

Bank accounts, certificates of deposit, insurance, retirement plans (such as 401k, IRA, pension, profit sharing) are all great options for giving to charity. By designating a charitable beneficiary on these assets, income and estate taxes are avoided.

Life Insurance – Gifts of life insurance can be made by the donor contributing existing policies, or purchasing new policies with Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation as owner and beneficiary. By designating an Ascension SE Michigan hospital or Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation as both owner and beneficiary of an existing policy, the donor receives an income tax deduction equal to the policy’s fair market value or the net policy premiums the donor has paid, whichever is less. Payments to Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation in support of premiums due on a policy will allow the donor a tax deduction for the payment. Donors also benefit from transferring life insurance to benefit Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation by removing the asset from their estates and thus avoiding potential estate tax liability.

Retirement Plan Assets – While retirement plan assets provide for a financially secure future, at death, such accounts are often subject to both income and estate taxes. These taxes can be avoided by listing Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation as beneficiary of a specific amount, a percentage or the remainder of your retirement assets. You can establish a gift of retirement plan assets by simply completing a beneficiary form provided by your retirement plan administrator.

Gifts That Provide Income:

Charitable Gift Annuities – A charitable gift annuity provides the donor and/or another individual, such as a spouse, with a guaranteed income stream for life or a term of years. Charitable gift annuities pay at higher rates for more senior individuals and provide immediate income tax deductions for the gift portion of the contract. At the end of the lifetime of the income beneficiaries (or term of years), the remainder is transferred in support of Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation. The minimum required contribution to establish a charitable gift annuity is $10,000, and the donor/income beneficiaries must be age 65 or older, unless a deferred gift annuity is established.

Charitable Remainder Trusts – An irrevocable trust that benefits the donor and/or other individuals named for their lifetimes, or for a term of years. Charitable Remainder Trusts provide donors or the other individuals named with income. Upon termination at the end of the income recipient’s life, or after a term of years, the remaining assets pass to benefit Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation. The two basic forms of charitable remainder trusts include the annuity trust and the unitrust. Annuity trusts provide donors with income as a fixed dollar amount or percentage, and unitrusts provide donors with an amount of income equal to a fixed percentage of the net fair market value of the trust assets as recalculated yearly. Charitable Remainder Trusts are of particular benefit to donors who intend to transfer $250,000 or more into the trust, and who may benefit from the charitable income tax deduction, and avoidance of capital gains tax on appreciated assets transferred into the trust.

Charitable Lead Trusts
– Charitable lead trusts can be considered the opposite of the Charitable Remainder Trusts as the income will be provided to Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation for a term of years, and the remainder will be transferred to the individuals named by the donor. Charitable Lead Trusts are useful planning tools and are typically established by individuals who wish to benefit Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation and pass assets to their heirs at significantly reduced or eliminated gift and estate taxes. 

Donor Recognition: The Legacy Society

The Legacy Society honors donors who demonstrate their deep commitment to Ascension St. John Foundation or Ascension Providence Foundation by including our hospitals or programs within their estate plans. Legacy gifts are recognized during a donor’s lifetime and can be in the form of a charitable bequest or other planned gift arrangement. A planned gift of any amount qualifies donors for membership. 

For more information:

If you would like to receive additional information, or if you have already included our hospitals or programs within a planned gift arrangement and wish to become a member of the Legacy Society, please call 313-343-7480 or 248-465-5000.

Disclaimer: Ascension, Ascension St. John Foundation, Ascension Providence Foundation, board members, officers and employees are not engaged in rendering legal or tax advice. Prospective donors should consult their independent legal counsel and financial advisors when considering a charitable gift.