See our Spring/Summer events here.

Gift in Your Will (also known as a Bequest)

Benefits of making a gift in your will

  • Receive an estate tax charitable deduction

  • Reduce the burden of taxes on your family

  • Leave a lasting legacy to charity

How a gift in your will works

We have invested in a partnership with FreeWill to make it simpler than ever to include a gift to Historic Deerfield in your estate plan. FreeWill’s safe, secure platform allows you to create your legal will online in less than 20 minutes, for free.

Create your legal will and historic legacy with FreeWill today.

If you would prefer to work directly with an attorney, you can also save on legal costs by using FreeWill to document your wishes first. Otherwise, with the help of an attorney you can include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to Historic Deerfield as part of your estate plan, or you can make a bequest using a beneficiary designation form.

The method used to make a bequest will depend on the kind of gift you choose to leave to Historic Deerfield.

Your Bequest to Historic Deerfield, Inc. can help the preservation of the rich history of our mission in perpetuity.  A Bequest, or testamentary gift as it is sometimes called, is the simplest way for many donors to make a significant, lasting gift. It also enables you to make a major gift that might not otherwise be possible – and a bequest may also significantly reduce the federal estate tax due at death.

Many individuals can make significant bequests at a relatively small cost to their heirs.  When the needs of spouses, children, and other loved ones have been addressed, many people find it satisfying to know that part of their assets will go toward the common good. When you are preparing a will, ask yourself, “Are there any charitable interests I would like to support through my will?”

“This is my way of recognizing that Historic Deerfield will continue the important work of researching and developing programs around the superb treasures that link us to our ancestors, their way of life, and their contributions to the growth of our country.”

You can insert specific provisions into your bequest. Or, you can make an unrestricted gift that offers Historic Deerfield the flexibility to use your funding where it is needed most. A bequest may also be made in honor or memory of another individual.

Types of Bequests

Outright Bequest
An outright specific bequest may direct a specific dollar amount or particular assets such as securities, real estate, or tangible personal property (artifacts, works of art, etc.) – or a stated percentage of an estate to Historic Deerfield.

Residuary Bequest
Through a residuary bequest, Historic Deerfield receives all or a percentage of the remainder of the estate after specific amounts bequeathed to other beneficiaries have been distributed and estate-related expenses have been paid.

Contingent Bequest
This is a bequest made on condition that a certain event must occur before distribution to the beneficiary. A contingent bequest is specific in nature and fails if the condition is not met. A contingent bequest is also appropriate if you want to name a secondary beneficiary in case the primary beneficiary does not survive you.


Historic Deerfield is here to help you with sample language and to answer any questions that you may have. If you have made such a bequest, or intend to do so, please tell us about it by contacting Jesse Vanek at (413) 775-7177.  Whether you are creating a new will or amending an existing one, Historic Deerfield advises that you consult with your attorney when considering a gift to Historic Deerfield.