The Decorative Arts Trust’s Legacy Society honors those members who have included our non-profit organization in their estate planning. Such gifts represent both generosity and foresight while also offering you an appealing way of promoting the Trust’s mission. Whether your connection to the Trust is through programs, the support of students and young professionals, or our promotion of the decorative arts field at large, a planned gift of any size will improve our long-term success.

Planned gifts are made in many different ways, from simple to complex, and thoughtful planning can help reduce taxes while fulfilling your wish to support charitable organizations.

One of the easiest ways to include the Trust in your estate planning is to name the Trust as a beneficiary to your life insurance policy or tax-deferred retirement account. By naming a charitable organization as the beneficiary, your estate and heirs avoid paying income tax on its value. The retirement account funds are transferred directly to the Trust, thereby avoiding the income tax and creating more funds for charitable purposes.

This is just one of the many creative and flexible planned giving options that can benefit you and the Trust, including bequests, revocable trusts, living trusts, tangible assets, and adding a codicil to an existing will. Such gifts qualify for membership in the Trust’s Legacy Society, a group that recognizes the generosity of donors who contribute to the organization in this special way. 

“The Trust has increased my appreciation of all areas of decorative arts, including objects created by contemporary craftspeople. Supporting research by new scholars means that future generations will benefit from ongoing work in this field. While the decision to support the Trust involved careful and thoughtful consideration, the process of designating beneficiaries of a tax-deferred retirement account was easily accomplished online, without legal or other fees.”

- Mary Raines

“I have relished the opportunity to visit important museums, collections, and historic sites all over the country with the Decorative Arts Trust and made wonderful friends along the way. I want to help ensure the Trust’s work continues and have recognized the organization in a living trust. My planned gift is unrestricted in order to provide the Trust with ability to direct the funds to the most important areas of need.”

- Richard Hughes



The Life Cycle of a Planned Gift

In 2011, the Trust received a bequest from the estate of Dr. George N. Eaves, who wished to create a scholarship fund for the study of decorative arts.

Dr. Eaves’s bequest was carefully invested and now generates annual funding for the Emerging Scholars Program. These funds help to underwrite the Trust’s research grant program, through which graduate students receive assistance for thesis and dissertation research. A half-dozen students benefit from Dr. Eaves’s planned gift each year.

Emelie Gevalt (shown below) received a grant funded by Dr. Eaves’s bequest. “The grant  supported essential research on my Winterthur thesis, a study of the painted chests of Taunton, MA, attributed to Robert Crosman,” Emilie shared. “My research trip extended across museums in the Northeast and Midwest.”


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