Planned Giving

Planned gifts are instrumental in helping Vesterheim maintain the activities and programs so essential to our members and visitors. These gifts provide a lasting legacy for the future of Vesterheim. Including Vesterheim in your estate plans can be a great way to benefit the museum, while meeting your current income needs and providing for future heirs.

How Do I Establish a Planned Gift?

One of the most common forms of planned gifting is a will or trust bequest. To gift using a bequest is as simple as inserting a few sentences in your will. For example, “I give ($ amount) to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.”

There are also ways you can make a significant future gift while retaining the income you receive from the asset used to make the gift. Two common examples of these types of gifts are: Retained Life Estate and Charitable Remainder Trusts.

For details on how to set up planned giving, please contact Shawna Wagner at 563-382-9681, ext. 103, or email at Restrictions apply, so consult with your financial adviser to determine how such a gift would affect your overall tax and estate planning, as well as the rules pertaining to your state of residence.

If you have already included Vesterheim in your estate plans, please print a Valhalla membership form (pdf) and send the form to:
Development Department
Vesterheim Museum
P.O. Box 379
Decorah, IA 52101

What Are The Planned Giving Options?

  • Planned gifts include: Bequests, Charitable Remainder Trusts and Unitrusts, Annuities, Life Insurance, and Appreciated Securities and Real Estate just to name a few methods. It is always good to check with you financial advisor to learn what method is best for you. Here are some examples:
  • Bequests: One of the simplest ways to support Vesterheim’s future, a bequest provides a gift for the museum in your will.
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts: This agreement between you and a trustee can provide fixed or variable income to meet your specific financial needs, at the termination of which the remaining assets are passed to Vesterheim.
  • Charitable Gift Annuities: An agreement between you and Vesterheim that provides you with regular fixed payments annually (an annuity) for life in exchange for transferring assets to the museum.
  • Charitable Lead Trusts: This agreement between you and a trustee provides income to Vesterheim for a period of years, at the end of which the trust property typically passes to an heir.
  • Retirement Assets, Life Insurance, and Real Estate: Retirement, life insurance, and real estate assets may all be donated to Vesterheim.

What Are the Benefits of Planned Giving?

Everyone who makes a planned gift to Vesterheim and notifies Vesterheim that this gift is coming becomes a member of the museum’s Valhalla Society. Founded in 1989, the Valhalla Society consists of a special group of donors who have chosen to honor their passion for preservation with planned giving. There is no planned gift minimum for the Valhalla Society.

Other benefits of planned giving include:

  • Assure that your family is provided for after your death.
  • Ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
  • Through proper planning, leverage estate tax savings.
  • Leave a legacy in support of an organization that has special meaning to you.

Will My Gift Qualify for Tax Benefits?

Vesterheim is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, thus your gift may also qualify for tax benefits. Please contact your investment advisor for the benefits available to you.