Vegas Couple Finds Peace of Mind with Planned Giving

Judy and BenWhen Las Vegas resident Judy and her husband Ben decided they wanted to leave their resources in a trust to something they believe in, it wasn't initially obvious what that would be.

That is, until they went to Branford Marsalis' show at The Smith Center, and witnessed local students brought in for a special visit with the iconic musician.

"We saw the kids there for The Smith Center's youth and education program, and I looked at my husband and said, ‘This is what we should've done all along,'" she recalls.

Not only did the couple feel strongly about the performing arts center's outreach programs, she explains, they constantly attended shows at The Smith Center, including Broadway musicals and concerts at Cabaret Jazz concerts.

"We don't travel, so that's where our vacation money goes," she says, adding that she was hungry for the arts after living in Northern Nevada most of her life. "When The Smith Center first opened, it was like a Pandora's box of performance opportunities."

This is why the couple coordinated for a trust to donate their assets to The Smith Center after they have both passed.

"I wanted this to go where we really wanted it to go," Judy notes.

She estimates that since The Smith Center opened, she and Ben have attended more than 100 performances.

Establishing the trust will help to ensure many others enjoy this same access to the arts that has brought such joy to her life, she says.

On top of that, it will support The Smith Center's Education and Outreach programs, including hosting student matinee performances for local students free of charge.

"The Smith Center gives back in more ways than one," Judy says.

The trust also allows her and her husband to leave behind a legacy benefitting their community, she adds.

"It's a way to continue on after you're gone," she says.

With the help of a lawyer, establishing the trust wasn't complicated, she adds.

Many people aren't aware of options like this for planned gifts—donations to The Smith Center that involve more coordination than simple cash donations.

Besides setting up donations in a will or trust, planned giving can include donating assets such as real estate and stocks, donating through a retirement plan or life insurance, and more.

Above all, Judy says, she is grateful she can rest easy knowing this decision has been completely taken care of, and the couple's trust will go toward an organization she feels confident will use it well.

"It gives you peace of mind for the future," she says.

Learn More

To learn more about planned giving, contact The Encore Society at 702-749-2354 or


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Smith Center a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to The Smith Center, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 361 Symphony Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to The Smith Center or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Smith Center as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Smith Center as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and The Smith Center where you agree to make a gift to The Smith Center and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.