Leave A Legacy

Begin your legacy through planned giving.

Planned giving is any gift that is not a current cash gift. Many planned gifts are simple bequests. Other types of gifts include real estate, stocks, IRA distributions, life-insurance proceeds, and charitable lead and remainder trusts.

Donors who select planned giving make an impact on Mojave Desert Land Trust (“MDLT”) for years to come. Although current outright gifts are essential to MDLT to help pay for the current costs of acquiring and stewarding land, providing outdoor education programs, and managing the organization, planned gifts are vital to MDLT’s long-term success because they are usually larger gifts that MDLT can count on in the future.

Download Guidelines


A bequest is a charitable gift left to MDLT through an individual’s will. These gifts are one of MDLT’s most important sources of support. Unrestricted gifts give us the greatest flexibility to use funds where they are most needed.

You may leave MDLT:

  • A stated dollar amount,
  • A percentage of your residual estate (what remains after gifts to loved ones are distributed and expenses have been paid), or
  • A specific asset, such as securities or other marketable property.

How to name MDLT in your will

Legal name:     The California Desert Land Conservancy d/b/a Mojave Desert Land Trust

Address:          60124 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Federal tax ID:  #72-1603033

This sample language may be useful:

“I give and bequeath to California Desert Land Conservancy DBA Mojave Desert Land Trust, 60124 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, [the sum of __________ Dollars ($____)] [_______ % of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate] [full right and title to {specific asset}] to be used for its general charitable purposes.”


A gift of stock to Mojave Desert Land Trust is one way to ensure that our collective vision for the Mojave comes to fruition. Gifts of appreciated stock allow donors to bypass capital gains taxes and receive a charitable tax deduction. It is a win-win for all involved! Also, no matter the size of the donation, there is no need to obtain an appraisal. The value is simply based on what the stock or other security sold for on the exchange the day of the donation (the average price between the highest and lowest quoted selling prices on the donation day is used).

Please use this broker information to donate stock:

Custodian:                    Pershing LLC
DTC:                                0443
Account Title:             Mojave Desert Land Trust – Unrestricted
Account Number:     A9G096076


You can name MDLT as a beneficiary of all or a specified percentage of your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plans.

Individuals who inherit retirement plan assets are usually required to pay income tax on them, so they’re often considered among the best assets to leave to charity.

Naming MDLT

Ask your retirement plan administrator or financial institution for a change of beneficiary form. Please list us as:

Legal name:    The California Desert Land Conservancy d/b/a Mojave Desert Land Trust

Address:          60124 29 Palms Hwy, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

Federal tax ID:   #72-1603033

Other ways to name MDLT as a beneficiary


You can leave a legacy by naming MDLT as a Transfer-on-Death (“TOD”) or Payable-on-Death (“POD”) beneficiary on a bank or investment account or a commercial annuity. Check with your financial institution to see if this option is available to you.


If you have a life insurance policy that is no longer needed for your family, designating MDLT as a beneficiary is a simple way to support our work.

With a life insurance gift:

  • Your policy can be: 1.) cashed in by MDLT and the proceeds will be directly placed into a permanent fund or trust at MDLT, or 2.) you can make tax-deductible premium payments to MDLT as the new owner of the policy
  • You can claim an income tax deduction based on the policy’s current value or cost basis as determined by a financial advisor.
  • Your donation could reduce final taxes of your estate.
  • Your insurance gifts transfer outside the estate.


A revocable living trust provides for a future gift that can be revoked at the request of the donor during his or her lifetime. This planned gift offers a risk-free way to arrange for a charitable gift while still retaining the right to reallocate the assets should the need arise.

The donor receives no immediate income tax deduction for including the gift in a revocable trust. Savings, however, are ultimately realized in the form of an estate tax deduction for the amount passing to MDLT at the time of the donor’s death.

Why Revocable Living Trust Agreements are beneficial?

  • You do not go through probate, which often means a faster distribution of assets to your heirs—months or years with a will versus weeks with a living trust.
  • Your living trust is not made public; upon your death, your estate will be distributed in private.


A charitable gift annuity is a contract between you and MDLT. It allows you to make a gift and receive fixed income payments for life. The payments are based partially upon your life expectancy.  Because a portion of the annual payment is a return of principal, it is generally nontaxable.

There are many benefits to you of a charitable gift annuity:

  • You receive a dependable, fixed income for life.
  • You receive payments at a rate higher than the interest you are currently receiving, in many cases.
  • You receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of your gift.
  • You avoid capital gains tax when you fund your charitable gift annuity with appreciated securities, naming yourself as the beneficiary.
  • A portion of your annuity payments will be treated as a tax-free return of your principal, increasing the yield from your annuity.


If you are under the age of 65 and planning for your income needs during retirement, you may want to consider a deferred gift annuity. This allows you to make a gift with payments to begin at a future date— providing a tax deduction now and tax-favored retirement income later. Both the annuity rate and amount are set at the time the gift is made.

Benefits to you of a deferred gift annuity:

  • You receive a higher annuity rate and get a larger charitable tax deduction.
  • You can target your annuity payments to begin when you need them – at retirement, for example.
  • The longer you defer the payments, the higher your payments will be.
  • You reduce capital gains taxes.


A charitable remainder is a separately invested and managed charitable trust that allows you to make a significant gift toward the future of MDLT’s work, while providing an income for yourself or loved ones.

After transferring cash, securities, or other assets to a trust, a trustee invests the assets, and the trust pays income to you or to individuals you name for life or for a set term of years. Upon conclusion of the trust period, all assets remaining in the trust become the property of Mojave Desert Land Trust.

The many benefits of a charitable remainder annuity trust are:

  • You receive fixed income for life or a term of years in return for your gift.
  • You receive income that may be taxed favorably.
  • You receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of your contribution.
  • You reduce any estate tax liability.
  • You pay no upfront capital gains tax on appreciated assets you donate.
  • Your trust can meet personal or family needs that are tied to a specific time frame, such as tuition payments.


A charitable remainder unitrust offers the same benefits as the charitable remainder annuity trust; however, it pays a fluctuating income based on a fixed percentage of the trust’s annual fair market value. The most flexible life-income plan, a unitrust is a powerful vehicle for benefiting yourself, your heirs, and MDLT.

You can use almost any asset to fund a unitrust, including cash, publicly traded stocks and bonds, closely held stock, partnership interests, and real estate. You can tailor your unitrust to meet many financial or estate planning goals.

Benefits to you of a Charitable Remainder Unitrust:

  • You receive income for life or a term of years in return for your gift.
  • You receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of your contribution.
  • You reduce estate tax liability by removing a large taxable asset from your estate.
  • You pay no upfront capital gains tax on appreciated assets you give.
  • You can make additional gifts to the trust as your circumstances allow for additional income and tax benefits.


A charitable lead trust provides immediate income for charitable purposes, essentially it is a charitable remainder trust in reverse. First, the charity receives an income stream (the income interest), then, at the end of the specified trust term, it allows you to pass assets to your heirs at a reduced cost upon termination of the trust. Charitable lead trusts are often used to pass substantial wealth from one generation to the next.

Some advantages are:

  • You can experience the impact of your giving during your lifetime.
  • You donate to charity and keep trust assets within the family.
  • You help to substantially reduce the value of a taxable gift in that the gift is made for a future interest (known as an estate freezing technique).
  • You postpone the non-charitable beneficiary’s receipt of the trust assets.
  • You control the payment method, term of the trust, and beneficiaries.
  • You minimize your taxable estate, thus potentially reducing federal estate tax liabilities.


A life estate agreement is a way for you to donate a home, farmland, or other acreage to charity when you are still living without having to vacate the property or give up any benefits and while continuing to use the asset during your lifetime. You, the life tenant, continue to receive any benefit the property produces while remaining responsible for the property, such as taxes, insurance, and cost of maintenance. A charitable tax deduction is received at the time of the gift. At the time of death, the real property transfers immediately to MDLT.

The benefits to the donor of setting up a life estate are:

  • You can receive a charitable tax deduction up to 30% of your adjusted gross income, with any excess deduction carried over for up to 5 years.
  • You avoid capital gains tax on appreciated property.
  • You reduce gift or estate taxes.
  • Your donated property avoids probate and associated costs.

Planned giving affords myriad strategies for reducing tax liability, obtaining income or estate tax benefits, and satisfying other financial planning needs while at the same time supporting MDLT’s ongoing work to protect the Mojave’s critical ecosystems.

Please keep in mind that this memorandum presents an overview of some of the available planned giving options and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or financial advice.  We strongly suggest that you consult with your professional advisors, such as legal counsel and tax advisor(s), to assist you with the development of a planned giving strategy. Any questions you have about any particular planned giving approach or the tax deductibility or other financial implications of your gift should be addressed directly with your legal counsel or other professional advisors. In addition, these planned giving strategies are constantly changing and evolving; ask your advisors if there may be other planned giving options that would benefit you while also helping MDLT continue our important work.

For additional information on planned giving options, please contact us at (760) 366-5440 or info@mdlt.org