Leave a Legacy of Justice

The purpose of this page is to provide general gift, estate, and financial planning information. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or other professional advice. For assistance in planning charitable gifts with tax and other financial implications, the services of appropriate advisors should be obtained. Consult an attorney for advice if your plans require revision of a will or other document.

There are several ways to include Chicago Volunteer Legal Services ("CVLS") in your financial and estate planning, such as:



A common planned gift is a bequest, in a will or trust, making CVLS the beneficiary of a gift from your estate.


There are several options that will allow you to designate how your estate will be distributed should you choose to include CVLS in your will.

  • SPECIFIC BEQUEST allows you to describe exactly what you want to leave to a specific organization. This is what you would want to use to leave a specific dollar amount or a particular asset or piece of real estate. However, keep in mind that you may dispose of this asset prior to your death, resulting in an unfulfilled bequest.
  • RESIDUARY BEQUEST allows you to designate that CVLS receive all or a specific portion of the remainder of your estate once all specific bequests and obligations have been paid.
  • CONTINGENT BEQUEST is fulfilled if certain conditions are met. For example, if your primary beneficiary does not survive you, you can select a contingent designation. Keep in mind that it is always a good idea to list a contingent beneficiary.


Bequests to CVLS can offer tax savings because they are deductible from your gross estate, provided your estate is large enough to require the filing of state or federal estate tax returns. There is no limit on the amount you can leave to charitable organizations such as CVLS through you will.


Please provide your attorney with the following language for your will:

I give _______________ (specific amount or property, percentage, or residue) to the tax-exempt Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation, located in Chicago, IL, for the purposes of supporting its legal aid programs. (Tax ID 23-7164989)

Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets


You may name CVLS as a beneficiary (either primary or contingent) of your IRA or other qualified plan assets (such as a 401(k), 403(b), Keogh or profit-sharing plan).

There are two ways to give a gift to CVLS through your retirement account:

  • PRIMARY BENEFICIARY: This allows you to name CVLS as the primary beneficiary of a stated percentage or the entire amount of the assets in your retirement plan.
  • CONTINGENT BENEFICIARY: You can name CVLS as a contingent beneficiary of a stated percentage or the entire amount of your retirement plan. A contingent beneficiary receives assets only if the named primary beneficiaries, such as family members or friends, do not survive you.


The administrator of your retirement account will provide you with a Designation of a Beneficiary form. This form directs where your retirement account assets will go after your lifetime. It is important to update this form to reflect your current wishes.

To name CVLS as a beneficiary to your retirement plan, please use the following address:

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
33 N Dearborn St, Ste 400
Chicago, IL 60602
Tax Identification Number: 23-7164989

Life Insurance


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


It is relatively simple to make a change to the beneficiary/beneficiaries of your insurance policy without changing your will or other aspects of your estate plan. Just ask your insurance company for a form that will allow you to make CVLS a beneficiary of your insurance policy.


You can transfer ownership of a paid-up life insurance policy to CVLS. After the transfer, CVLS can elect to either cash in the policy right away or keep the policy and receive the death benefit later. You would receive an immediate income tax deduction for either the cash surrender value or the basis (usually the cost), whichever is less.

Bank and Investment Accounts and Commercial Annuities

You may leave a legacy for CVLS by naming us as a Transfer-on-Death (TOD) or Payable-on-Death (POD) beneficiary on a bank or investment account or a commercial annuity, where permitted by state law and the financial institution.

"Payable on death" (POD) or "Transfer on Death" (TOD) accounts name a beneficiary to receive the proceeds upon your passing. You do not have to change your will or work with an attorney or accountant. There are no fees to arrange such a gift. You simply complete the beneficiary form given to you by the financial institution with the information below. You retain complete control over the funds or assets in the account while you are living, and these gifts are completely revocable.

IRA Charitable Rollover


If you are 70 1/2 years old or older, you can take advantage of a simple way to benefit CVLS and receive tax benefits in return. You can give any amount up to $100,000 per year (and up to $200,00 per year for married couples) from your IRA directly to a qualified charity such as ours without having to pay income taxes on the money. Note, distributions must be made directly to a qualified charity by the plan administrator of an IRA. Retirement assets in 401(k), 403(b), SEP, or SIMPLE plans do not qualify but may be rolled into a new or existing IRA and transferred to the charity.

U.S. Savings Bonds

Although it is not possible to make a lifetime charitable gift of a savings bond without first paying the tax on the interest earned, it does make an excellent asset to bequeath to CVLS. That’s because savings bonds generate “income in respect of a decedent.” That means if you die owning them, the accumulated interest is taxed before your heirs inherit them. However, if they are left to an organization like CVLS, that tax is not due. We suggest that you check with your advisors about the best way to bequeath your savings bonds to CVLS.

Memorial Contributions

A memorial donation is a charitable gift made in honor of a person who has passed. It’s easy to make a memorial donation to CVLS in memory or honor of a friend or family member. All you need to do is choose the amount you want to give. You can then give that money via our website (cvls.org/donate), by sending a check in the mail, or by putting it in an envelope provided by the funeral home at the funeral or visitation. In addition, if you are making funeral arrangements for a loved one, you might consider asking family and friends to make a donation to CVLS in lieu of sending flowers.

For assistance, please contact our Planned Gifts Team at (312) 332-3513 or email giftplanning@cvls.org and request information about how to include CVLS in your estate planning documents.

If you decide to include CVLS in your estate plan, please let us know so that we can express our sincere gratitude and welcome you into the CVLS Legacy Circle.


Legal Name: Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation
Principal Address: 33 N Dearborn St, Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60602
Telephone: (312) 332-1624
Federal Tax ID # 23-7164989

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