Ornamental Separator

Estate and Planned Giving

What Will Your Legacy Be?

A Gift in Your Will, Trust or Other Beneficiary Designation

Your attorney can help you design an estate plan that protects your family, preserves your property and benefits The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. This information should be helpful whether you intend to include the Foundation as a beneficiary in your will or living trust or as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, bank account, brokerage account or retirement account.

Useful Information for making an estate gift to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

301 First Street, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185


Sample Gift Language
(for review by your attorney)

Unrestricted Gifts
You may wish to provide an unrestricted gift for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Our general policy is to invest unrestricted bequests in the Foundation’s general endowment fund, where the annual earnings will perpetually support our mission – that the future may learn from the past.

Whether you intend to leave The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation a specific dollar amount, a specific property, or a percentage of your residuary estate, your attorney will draft language to accomplish your intended bequest under applicable state law. For unrestricted bequests, consider language such as the following:

Sample Bequest Language For Unrestricted General Purposes
“I give to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Tax ID # 54-0505888, a not-for-profit, Virginia corporation located in Williamsburg, Virginia, the sum of $____________ [or property described herein] [or ____ percent (____%) of the rest and residue of my estate] to be used by the Foundation for its general purposes.”

Restricted Gifts
You may wish to restrict your gift to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation by designating your bequest to a permanent endowment fund(s) that has been established by the Foundation to support a specific core area(s) of Colonial Williamsburg. Contact the Planned Giving Office to confirm the correct name and designation for a Foundation permanent endowment fund(s) such as those mentioned above.

Alternatively, if you would like to restrict your bequest to a particular area or program, create a new restricted or named endowment fund, or restrict your bequest in any other way or for any other purpose, contact the Planned Giving Office to discuss or review your intentions to ensure that your wishes may be fulfilled as stated.

Sample Bequest Language for a Restricted Purpose(s)
“I give to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Tax ID # 54-0505888, a not-for-profit, Virginia corporation located in Williamsburg, Virginia, the sum of $____________ [or property described herein] [or ____ percent (____%)] of the rest and residue of my estate] to be used for (see Restricted Gifts above).

For a copy of our Bequest Information paper, contact the Planned Giving Office by email at legacy@cwf.org or call us at (888) 293-1776.

Life Income Gifts

If you would like to make a significant gift to support Colonial Williamsburg during your lifetime—but feel you need the income your investments provide--you may want to consider a life income gift to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Depending on the life income plan you choose, your contribution of as little as $5,000 may provide the following benefits:

  • Income payments for your life or, if desired, for the life of one or two other beneficiaries.
  • A current charitable income tax deduction.
  • Avoidance of capital gains tax.
  • An increased rate of return on highly appreciated, low-yielding investments.
  • Professional investment management and diversification.
  • Exclusion of the gift amount from your estate.
  • Make a significant gift to support the future of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

What Better Way to Provide for Colonial Williamsburg's Future and Your Own?

The IRA Charitable Rollover – Qualified Charitable Distribution

If you are 70½ or older, you can make a tax-free distribution from your traditional or Roth IRA to Colonial Williamsburg, known as an IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) or IRA Charitable Rollover. Benefits include:

  • The IRA rollover amount is excluded from your taxable income.
  • You may roll over up to $100,000 every year from your IRA as a QCD.
  • If you are age 73 or older, the QCD can also count towards your required minimum distribution (RMD).
  • New for 2023: You may establish a charitable gift annuity with Colonial Williamsburg of up to $50,000 (limited to only one tax year during your lifetime).

Consider this tax-wise way to support Colonial Williamsburg and the causes that matter most to you.

Making Your IRA Gift
To make an IRA QCD gift to Colonial Williamsburg, please direct your IRA administrator to mail a check payable to “The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation” to the address below, or click here for our IRA QCD gift form:

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Attn: Special Gifts Administrator
P.O. Box 1776
Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776

  IRA administrators frequently do not include the donor's name on IRA QCD checks. Please alert Colonial Williamsburg before making an IRA QCD gift, so that we may identify and acknowledge your gift promptly by contacting Margaret McGraw, Special Gifts Administrator, at (757) 565-8605 or mmcgraw@cwf.org.

Please Note
:  If you are still working and contributing to your IRA, an IRA QCD gift could impact your taxable income. If you are under age 70 ½, you can still use your IRA to support Colonial Williamsburg by making a withdrawal and donating the proceeds after taxes, or by designating Colonial Williamsburg as a beneficiary of your IRA. Please consult a qualified advisor before making an IRA gift.

Please contact the Planned Giving Office with any questions about IRA gifts:

David Jokinen
Director of Gift Planning
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
P.O. Box 1776
Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776

Charitable Lead Trusts

In contrast to “life income” gifts that provide you with a current payment stream and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation with a future remainder interest, a charitable lead trust (CLT) provides a current payment stream to the Foundation to meet current program or other needs. At the end of the trust term, the trust remainder will be returned to you or to other beneficiaries you designate.

You may significantly reduce gift or estate tax, be eligible for a current income tax deduction, and you will be able to witness, during your lifetime, the tangible impact your dollars are making on your designated area at Colonial Williamsburg.

Retained Life Estate

For many individuals, their personal residence represents one of their most substantial assets. A gift of the remainder interest in your personal residence that qualifies you for a charitable income tax deduction is an excellent method of making a gift benefiting both you and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation without affecting your current lifestyle.

A retained life estate is a gift plan defined by federal tax law that allows you to donate your home or farm to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation while retaining the right to use it for the rest of your life.

As the creator of a retained life estate, you irrevocably deed to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation your home or farm, but retain the right to use it for the rest of your life, a term of years, or a combination of the two. You may also use a vacation home to create this kind of gift.

While you retain the right to use your property, you continue to be responsible for all routine expenses - maintenance fees, insurance, property taxes, repairs, etc. If you later decide to vacate your property, you may rent all or part of the property to someone else or sell the property in cooperation with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

When your retained life estate ends, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation can then use your property or the proceeds from the sale of your property for the purpose you designate.

The W.A.R Goodwin Society

The realization of the Reverend Doctor W.A.R. Goodwin’s vision of Colonial Williamsburg is shared today by hundreds of thousands of annual visitors, and supported by the generosity of tens of thousands of people who, as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., did, contribute to sustaining Doctor Goodwin’s dream.

Among them are members of The W.A.R. Goodwin Society, supporters and philanthropists large and small who include Colonial Williamsburg as the beneficiary in their estate plans, wills and trusts.

Today, friends who make a life income gift, bequest or other non-contingent gift in their estate plan for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and document that gift with the Foundation are invited to become a member of The W.A.R. Goodwin Society.

Colonial Williamsburg presents those who have documented their gift with the Foundation a Certificate of Membership in The W.A.R. Goodwin Society and recognizes members in the Foundation’s Donor Registry.

View the full list of Member Courtesies

For a Personal Representative, Executor or Trustee

Settling the estate of a family member, friend, colleague or client can be a challenging task. If you are responsible for administering a bequest or other estate gift to benefit The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, please contact the Planned Giving Office for whatever information or assistance you may need to ensure that our donor’s intentions are honored.

For more information please contact the Planned Giving Office:


Mailing Address:
CWF Planned Giving Office
P.O Box 1776
Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776

Physical Address:
CWF Planned Giving Office
301 First Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185