West Marin Senior Services has dedicated over 37 years to ensuring that seniors and people with disabilities enjoy successful lives by staying in their homes, among the nestling arms of our community, friends and family, and within the familiar, rural lifestyle of West Marin.
Meet Our Staff
At West Marin Senior Services we provide aging adults with the peace of mind that there is someone there for them. Our local, professional staff is highly trained and they have years of experience in caring for the community of older adults. They also are some of the most compassionate and thoughtful people you’ll meet. Our clients are in very good hands.
Care managers work with seniors and their families to develop care plans for those at risk, to assure they have food, medication, a safe home, and emotional support. We provide case management services for about 300 seniors each year, including home assessments, care plans, assistance with contracts and ongoing care monitoring. We connect those in need to food programs, financial assistance, health insurance options, housing programs, home health agencies and many other services.
With the support of our community we provide the following Programs and Services:
We depend on YOU to provide direct services. Whatever you choose, know your service is much appreciated!
Watch a series of short videos about our programs and services.
Legacy of Care FAQ
Q. Can West Marin Senior Services help me get my estate plan done?
A. Yes. You can instantly access our basic introduction to estate planning in our clear and concise video series, Estate Planning Help. The series takes you through the pros and cons of probate, wills, living trusts, advance health care directives, and other basic estate planning tools. Or you can download a computer friendly version of our Estate Planning Organizer now. Effective estate planning usually takes time, effort and a good attorney. In the end your plan will allow your family to avoid the delay, dissension and needless expense that often occurs when a loved one dies without a Will. Once you have taken care of your family’s needs, please consider a thoughtful bequest to West Marin Senior Services. To order a hard copy of the estate-planning organizer, call Skip Schwartz, at (415) 663-
8148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How do I include West Marin Senior Services in my will or living trust?
A. The most common way people remember West Marin Senior Services in a will or living trust is through a charitable bequest. You do not have to rewrite your current documents. You simply add an amendment, called a codicil, to your will or living trust. Here is some suggested language you can have your attorney review: I give devise and bequeath to West Marin Senior Services (tax I.D. 51-0192320), located in Point Reyes Station, California, the sum of ___ dollars ($ ___) or state a percentage of your estate, or state a percentage of your estate, or describe real or personal property, including exact location) for the benefit of its general purposes (or specify West Marin Senior Services program you wish to support). Your bequest is entirely under your control during life and becomes irrevocable only at death. If you have questions about bequests, call Skip Schwartz, at (415) 663-8148 or email@example.com.
Q. What’s the big advantage in making West Marin Senior Services a beneficiary of my retirement plan?
A. A designation in your IRA or other retirement plan may be a very cost-effective way of making a gift to West Marin Senior Services. If you leave your retirement plan to your children, they will have to pay income tax on either a lump sum distribution or the income stream from the plan. West Marin Senior Services does not pay this tax. Here’s an example of what this can mean to your heirs:
A widower died a few years ago. He left his $300,000 house to charity and his $300,000 retirement plan to his relatives. He should have done just the opposite. The relatives had to pay income tax on the
$300,000 in the retirement plan, an $80,000 cost to them. If they had received the home, and the charity had received the retirement plan payment, no one would have paid tax. For more information on the advantages of retirement gifts to West Marin Senior Services, call Skip Schwartz, at (415) 663-8148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What kind of donors should consider a charitable remainder trust?
A. Donors who want income for life, bypass of capital gains tax on stock or real estate, reduced taxes and the satisfaction of providing for a good cause like West Marin Senior Services. First, a few words about charitable trusts generally. Anything you place in a charitable trust–cash, stock, real estate–is invested by the trustee to pay you income for the rest of your life and, if you wish, pay your heirs for life or for a term of years. After the death of all income beneficiaries, what remains in the trust passes to West Marin Senior Services. Your trust may provide you with some important tax benefits:
1) An immediate income tax deduction for a percentage of your gift. We will be happy to give you an idea of the size of your deduction. We simply need to know the ages of the income beneficiary(ies) and the payout rate of the trust.
2) No tax on the sale of appreciated property. From the donor’s point of view, this is often the most important tax benefit. Sometimes thousands of dollars that would have gone in capital gains taxes remain in the trust generating income to the income beneficiaries.
3) The trust principal is not subject to estate tax. Property that might otherwise be subject to federal estate tax, which can be has high as 45%, is preserved from estate tax entirely.
Appreciated real estate is often an excellent asset to place in a charitable trust. Mature investment properties are frequently earning only two, three, or four percent of their fair market value per year. When these properties are sold and the proceeds reinvested by the trust, earnings often increase significantly. Under ordinary circumstances, owners face substantial capital gains taxes when they sell rental properties or commercial real estate. In some cases personal residences are also subject to capital gains taxes even after the $500,000 exemption has been used. In any case, because your charitable trust will be selling the property, there will be no capital gains taxes due when the real estate is sold. Thus the entire net proceeds from the sale can be reinvested to produce more income for you. Gifts of appreciated stock are ideal for funding a charitable remainder trust because the stock can be reinvested by the trust for greater income while bypassing capital gains taxes at the time of the sale.
Some people find it useful to give an undivided percentage interest of real estate to a charitable trust rather than all of it. For example, a donor contributed 75% of a vacant lot into a charitable trust. When the lot was sold, about $70,000 came directly to her from the sale while $210,000 remained in the trust. Some of her $70,000 was taxable, but she used the income tax deduction generated by her gift to the trust to offset the tax due on the gain built into the $70,000 she received. There are two basic types of charitable remainder trusts. An annuity trust will pay you a fixed dollar amount for the rest of your life. A unitrust will pay you a fixed percentage of the trust principal each year, so if the value of the trust principal increases over time, your income increases with it. By law, your trust must pay you at least 5% of principal. You may choose a higher payout rate if you wish, but the higher the payout rate the lower your income tax charitable contribution deduction. Also, selecting the highest rate possible may not work in your best interests for another reason. If trust principal declines under the strain of meeting the higher rate, your income will decline with it. On the other hand, a lower payout rate may allow the principal to grow, and your income will grow with it. Additions can be made to a unitrust at any time, but you can contribute to an annuity trust only once. Finally, your trust must have a trustee. If you have an individual trust tailored to your circumstances, the trustee can be a commercial institution such as a bank or trust company, an individual with professional experience in trust management, a relative, or yourself. There are some complications in acting as trustee yourself, but it can be done if you understand and comply with IRS regulations. West Marin Senior Services will be happy to supply you with a list of possible trustees or information on being your own trustee. The basic advantages of charitable trusts are not difficult to understand:
• diversification of your assets without incurring capital gains taxes
• lifetime income
• immediate income tax benefits
• reduction of estate tax
• the satisfaction of providing for a good cause
There are even ways these trusts can benefit your heirs that we have not covered. But the first thing you should do is find out if a charitable trust makes sense for you. West Marin Senior Services will provide you with tax and income calculations tailored to your particular situation. This will give you and your advisors the information needed to make an informed decision as to whether a charitable trust meets your financial and philanthropic objectives. All information is provided confidentially and without cost or obligation. West Marin Senior Services deeply appreciates your willingness to help continue its work.
For a personalized analysis call Skip Schwartz, at (415) 663-8148 or email@example.com.
Q. How can I give my home and keep it, too?
A. A charitable life estate agreement allows you to give a personal residence or farm to West Marin Senior Services while retaining the right to live there for life. Donors who enter a life estate agreement receive an immediate income tax deduction. The deduction is based on the present value of the home discounted by the estimated length of time the charity must wait to receive the home. To put it simply, a person age 70 will receive a larger deduction than will a person age 50, all other things being equal. The IRS grants the deduction even though the donor continues to enjoy full use of the home. But the IRS also expects the owner to have full responsibility for the care and maintenance of the home. That’s why life tenancy agreements simply continue things as they are currently, with the donor dealing with maintenance, property taxes, insurance and the like. The major benefits to the donor, then, are continued use of the home, an immediate charitable income tax deduction, the avoidance of probate, the avoidance of estate tax on the property, and the satisfaction of making a substantial gift to West Marin Senior Services during one’s lifetime. For further call Skip Schwartz, at (415) 663-
Q. Why does West Marin Senior Services need planned gifts?
A. By including a gift to WMSS in your will or living trust you will continue a tradition of neighborly help and support that is part of the West Marin community’s way of life. Your WMSS bequest will: help seniors who often live at some distance from what they need, and who often live in poverty, get comfortable transportation to medical appointments; bring professional case management to hundreds of West Marin families who are providing their seniors with food, a safe home, emotional support, and daily care; help find qualified care-assistants for short- or long-term care of the elderly—including nurses’ aides, housekeepers, cooks, drivers, gardeners, companions, and repairmen; Give respite to family members providing daily care to their elders; Train volunteers to prepare meals, help with correspondence or gardening, drive seniors to medical appointments or share interests with them; Support home-delivered meals brought directly to homebound seniors and provide them with medical and homecare equipment; support beds at Stockstill House, which provides 24-hour assisted living to those unable to remain in their homes.
Q. What should I do if I have already remembered West Marin Senior Services in my estate plan?
A. We would be honored to enroll you in our Legacy of Care, so please let us know of your bequest by calling Skip Schwartz, at (415) 663-8148 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or fill out and mail the Legacy Gifts PDF form above.