Beneficiary Designations

Make a Gift in 3 Easy Steps_

Not everyone wants to commit to making a gift in their wills or estates. Some prefer the increased flexibility that a beneficiary designation provides by using: 

  • IRAs and retirement plans
  • Life insurance policies
  • Commercial annuities

It only takes three simple steps to make this type of gift. Here's how to name the Smithsonian Institution as a beneficiary:

  1. Go online or contact your retirement plan administrator, insurance company, bank, or financial institution for a change-of-beneficiary form.
  2. Decide what percentage (1 to 100) you would like us to receive and name us, along with the percentage you chose, on the beneficiary form.
  3. Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank, or financial institution.

An Example of How It Works

Couples smiling Robert and Carol treasure the financial help they've been able to give their children and the Smithsonian over the years. The couple recently updated their will to leave stocks to their kids. They left the Smithsonian a $75,000 IRA to be transferred following their lifetime. Because the Smithsonian is tax-exempt, all $75,000 will help support our mission.

If Robert and Carol had left the IRA to their children, approximately $18,000* would have gone to pay federal income taxes—leaving only $57,000 for their family's use. Robert and Carol are happy knowing they are making the most of their hard-earned money thanks to their updated estate plan.

*Based on an assumption of a 24 percent marginal income tax bracket.

Gifts That Pay

Your payments depend on your age at the time of the donation. If you are younger than 60, we recommend that you learn more about your options and download this FREE guide Plan for Retirement With a Deferred Gift Annuity.

Next Steps

  1. Contact the Office of Gift Planning at 888-419-7584 or legacy@si.edu for additional information on beneficiary designations and how they can help support the Smithsonian with our mission.
  2. Talk to your financial or legal advisor to learn which assets will or will not trigger taxable income when paid to a beneficiary.
  3. If you name the Smithsonian in your plans, please use our legal name and federal tax ID.

Legal Name: Smithsonian Institution
Address: 1000 Jefferson Drive, SW, 4th Floor PO Box 37012 MRC 035 Washington, DC 20013-7012
Federal Tax ID Number: 53-0206027