<September 2014>

The Musical Legacy Society

The DSO introduced the Musical Legacy Society during the 1999-2000 season to honor and recognize individuals who provide for the DSO through their estate planning. Ways in which to become a member include making bequests in a will, gift of a life insurance policy; Charitable Remainder Trust; Charitable Lead Trust; remainder interest in a residence; and naming the DSO as a beneficiary on an IRA, CD, savings account or retirement plan.

Planned Giving can help you find ways to give that are right for you. The following will provide options on how to plan your gift but is no substitute for the personal advice you'll get from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's professional planned giving staff and, of course, your own advisors.

Benefits of Giving

Though benefits vary depending on the plan you choose, many of our giving options share these features:

•    An immediate federal income tax deduction for all, or a portion, of the value of the gift.
•    Elimination of capital gains tax at the time of the transfer if the asset is in the form of securities or real estate that have appreciated in value.
•    Increased financial security for you or your heirs while providing meaningful support for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
•    Income for life paid to you and/or another beneficiary, such as your spouse or another family member.
•    Increased income if a gift is made to a life-income plan that produces a higher yield than the donated asset, which is often the case with securities.
•    Recognition in Performance Magazine.
•    Personalized ticketing assistance through the Office of the Governing Members.

Endowment Fund

A strong endowment is not only critical to the continued financial security of the DSO, it is essential for us to:

•    Maintain and increase the quality of the music making of our musicians.
•    Expand the scope and variety of our programs.
•    Continue to expand national and international activities, such as tours and recordings.
•    Increase direct services to the residents of southeast Michigan.

Gifts Given Directly to the DSO


When you contribute securities that have increased in value, you can keep your cash for other uses and avoid the capital gains tax incurred when you sell appreciated assets. You also get a charitable tax deduction for the full market value of the asset, regardless of what you paid for it.

Real Estate

Gifts of real estate offer similar advantages. If you give property that you've owned for more than one year, you're entitled to a charitable tax deduction equal to the full value of the property. You also avoid paying a capital gains tax on the appreciation.


Securities, real estate and other properties can also be donated by will, or bequest. You can also will life insurance or IRAs to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and reduce your family's estate-tax burden after you are gone.

Estate Taxes

One of the most overlooked areas of planning is the federal estate tax. Everything you own may be subject to this tax. To cut down on your estate tax liability, consider the charitable deduction, which allows you to deduct every dollar you give to charity through an outright bequest. In addition, property placed in a charitable trust generally will not be subject to the federal estate tax when the beneficiary dies.

Gifts that Provide Income to You

Charitable Remainder Trust

By transferring highly appreciated, low-yield property into a Charitable Remainder Trust you can bypass capital gains taxes, increase your income, and enjoy a charitable income tax deduction that could significantly reduce your current income taxes. After your lifetime, or a term of years, the principal remaining is your gift to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

For example, you might transfer into a trust stock that original cost $25,000, but now has a fair market value of $100,000 and a current yield of 3%. If you select a 7% payout rate, you will increase the annual income from your investment from $3,000 to $7,000. You will also bypass the $75,000 gain and receive a substantial income tax deduction.

It is important to note that a trust pays a variable income based on a percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets, as revalued annually. You choose the payout rate based on your own needs. A low rate allows the trust assets to grow more rapidly, providing you with the opportunity to increase your future income.

Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust

An annuity trust pays a fixed income based on the percentage you choose, and the value of the assets when the trust is established.

For example, if you establish a 7% two-life annuity trust with assets of $100,000, you and your spouse would receive $7,000 each year for the rest of your lives.

Charitable Gift Annuity

Like the charitable remainder annuity, a charitable gift annuity pays you a fixed dollar amount for life, or for a term of years. The amount is determined at the time of the contribution and is based on your age and, if you have designated another beneficiary, on his/her age as well. For senior citizens, annuity rates may be 8% or 9%, or even higher. Part of the annuity payment is tax-free, and the initial charitable deduction offers substantial income tax savings.

Deferred Gift Annuity

With a deferred gift annuity, you can defer the receipt of income until a later date, such as retirement. This offers several benefits: your annual income will be higher when the payments begin, and the contribution secures a larger current income tax charitable deduction.

Gifts that Allow you to Keep your Assets

Retained Life Agreement

This agreement allows you to continue to live in property you own for life while receiving a substantial tax savings today. You would simply retain the use of your home and deed the remainder interest in the property to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra so that the DSO will own the property after you pass away. The deduction could save you substantially on your current income taxes, and is especially attractive if you plan to transfer property by will.

Charitable Lead Trust

A charitable lead trust is the reverse of the charitable remainder trust and functions as a temporary gift, or loan, to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. That is, instead of paying income to you, the trust pays income to the DSO for a term of years, before the principal reverts back to you, a family member, or another beneficiary. A lead trust can greatly reduce estate taxes, allowing you to make a significant gift to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and ultimately pass more to your heirs.