Planned Giving

An act of kindness, a gift of hope.

As we age, things have a way of becoming their opposite. Our vitality, health, and ability to fend for ourselves aren’t as they were in younger years. New – and unwanted – challenges await us. Seniors are targeted by predatory scammers, “trusted” advisors, landlords, and even family members seeking easy money, regardless of the harm inflicted on innocents.

Then there are government, health, and other systems that, by design or neglect, strip away basic rights affecting quality of life. Imagine living in poverty or being homeless simply because you didn’t have help, when it was most needed. That is the reality for many of those that we serve.

Put this in the context of a legal system that’s pay as you go and out of reach for all but a few. Even for them, the legal costs often aren’t worth the final outcome.

The result is that a large percentage of senior citizens are unable to deal with things they’d rather avoid. If you’re not a senior citizen, hopefully one day you will be one. This is about all of us.

SLS serves our community in three ways:

  • We represent low income seniors in serious peril. Here are a few of our success stories:

  • We look for opportunities and cases to make policy and systemic changes that make things better for all of us.

  • We work to educate the public because well informed seniors are far less likely to become victims of abuse or neglect, and they’ll be more effective in dealing with healthcare companies, government agencies, and
    other bureaucracies.

Please consider SLS in your estate planning and lifetime gifts. Our Planned Giving liaison, Sandy Ettinger, is available to answer any questions you may have. We accept contributions, not for our organization but ultimately on behalf of those we serve. This responsibility is not taken lightly. It is at the core of our mission to ensure that every dollar we receive is spent carefully, wisely, and effectively for the innocents depending on us. When speaking for those with no voice, one must do so by producing results worthy of each of them.

Bequests and contributions can be made in ways that will enable you to be a key member of the SLS team while receiving tax benefits and knowing the difference you’ve made for so many innocents. Also, certain types of gifts may allow you to increase your own income while reducing estate taxes.

Please Consider:

  • Bequests in your will: Bequests should be made to “Senior Legal Services, in Santa Cruz, California, a charitable organization.”

  • Retirement Plans: IRA, 401(k) and other retirement savings plan balances can be donated or bequeathed to non-profits.

  • Offset Required Minimum Distribution Tax Consequences: IRA, 401(k) and other retirement savings plans frequently require annual minimum distributions, which you are required to pay taxes on. Making a donation from your required annual minimum distribution is a pre-tax donation and reduces the amount of taxes you are required to pay.

  • Life Insurance Policies and Trusts: Please consider SLS as a beneficiary or partial beneficiary.

  • Charitable Remainder Trusts and Gift Annuities: A CRT or CGA allows you to receive lifetime income from an investment while receiving a tax deduction for its value, when donated to a non-profit organization.

  • Real Estate and Personal Property: SLS will gratefully accept all real estate and personal property, including stock, bonds, and other financial assets, cars, boats, art, and other property.

  • Appreciated Securities: When you give appreciated securities, you may receive an immediate tax deduction and savings on capital gains taxes. Your gift of stock or mutual funds can be used to fund a charitable gift annuity. You can make a gift of appreciated securities to SLS while diversifying your portfolio and securing an income stream.

  • Donor Advised Fund: A donor advised fund serves as a charitable savings account and gives you the flexibility to recommend how much and how often donations are made to SLS and other qualified charities. You can recommend one or a series of grants to make an immediate impact or use the fund to enable future gifts.

If you are considering a planned gift and have unique requirements or preferences, we’re here to help! Please contact our Planned Giving liaison, Sandy Ettinger at or at (831) 688-4138 (voice only). We have estate attorneys willing to donate their time to your estate planning to benefit SLS. We look forward to working with your financial and legal advisors in any way requested.

For SLS and those we are dedicated to serving, we’re grateful beyond words for you spreading compassion and hope where there often is none!