How to Plan Your Conservation Legacy

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT). Estate planning is a very important step and your decision to leave charitable bequests should be made carefully. A charitable bequest through your will or revocable trust today can help support RiGHT tomorrow. Whether you are a concerned farmer or rancher or just dedicated to conserving land in the San Luis Valley, RiGHT hopes that you will keep us in mind while planning for your estate.

The San Luis Valley is known for its outstanding agricultural production, beautiful views, its wildlife and the water resources that support all of that. From our farming and ranching economy, our recreational resources along the river, and the beauty of the Sandhill Cranes, our heritage and way of life all ties back to the land. When the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) started in 1999, we made a promise to protect the special places in the Valley…forever, for the next generation and generations to come. We are the only local land trust in the Valley that serves the whole Valley. So please join our Headwaters Legacy Circle to make a lasting gift today so we can protect these lands, into the future.      

Reasons to include a charitable bequest and benefits to you:

·       It is not payable until death, so it does not affect your assets or cash flow during your life time;

·       it is revocable, meaning you can change the provisions in your will or trust at any time;

·       it is private since your will or trust is not made public until your death;

·       it is fully deductible for federal estate tax purposes, and there is no limit on the deduction your estate can claim. In addition, the gift is usually exempt from state inheritance taxes.  This may provide estate tax savings or avoid tax burdens for your heirs; and,

·       you leave a lasting legacy for the San Luis Valley and become a member of RiGHT’s Headwaters Legacy Circle 

Types of Assets 

You may also choose to name RiGHT as the beneficiary of a variety of assets, including:

·       insurance policies;

·       retirement funds (IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s;

·       pension or profit-sharing plans); and,

·        financial accounts (bank accounts, CDs, savings bonds, brokerage accounts, stock portfolios).

Because many of these assets may be subject to income and estate taxes when left to heirs, leaving them to RiGHT can be a low-cost, simple and tax- efficient way to support Conserving Our Land, Water and Way of Life in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

Types of Bequests

If you choose to include RiGHT in your will or trust, there are several ways to control how your estate is distributed:

·       Specific Bequest: A description of what you want to leave to RiGHT, whether that is a specific dollar amount or a particular asset. Beware of disposing of the asset prior to your death, which will result in an unfulfilled bequest.

·       Residuary Bequest: Leaving all or a percentage of what’s left in your estate after specific bequests, debts, expenses and taxes have been paid.

·       Codicil or Amendment: A codicil is prepared by your attorney to modify, explain, change or otherwise qualify terms in your will. If you have a revocable living trust, your attorney can prepare an amendment for you that will serve the same function.

Types of Beneficiary Designations

·       Primary Beneficiary: You may name the RiGHT as the primary beneficiary of a percentage or specific amount of your plan or policy.

·       Contingent/Secondary Beneficiary: You may name RiGHT as a contingent beneficiary of all or a portion of your plan or policy. For example, you may name family members or friends as the primary beneficiaries, and then name RiGHT to receive assets if the named individuals do not survive you.


Sample Bequest Language

Specific Bequest – Unrestricted Use

I give, devise and bequeath to the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust ("RiGHT"), a nonprofit corporation under Colorado law with its principal business address of P.O. Box 444, Del Norte, CO81132, Tax Identification Number 84-1495770, [the sum of (_______________ AND XX/100 DOLLARS $_______________)] to be used to further RiGHT's charitable mission as RiGHT's Board of Directors in its sole discretion may deem appropriate.

Sample Real Property Bequest Language

I give, devise and bequeath to the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, (“RiGHT”) a nonprofit corporation under Colorado law with its principal business address of P.O. Box 444, Del Norte, CO81132, Tax Identification Number 84-1495770, the real property located in _________ County, [State], which consists of approximately _____ acres and is more particularly described on Exhibit __ attached hereto together with all water rights and mineral rights appurtenant thereto, also known as [insert physical address] (the "Property"), subject to any reservations, easements, rights of way of record, including without limitation any conservation easements encumbering the Property during my lifetime.

Restricted versus Unrestricted Gifts

At RiGHT all unrestricted charitable gifts are used at the discretion of RiGHT’s Board of Directors to strategically support top conservation priorities. If you have a more specific purpose in mind, please contact us at (719) 657-0800.  If you make a restricted gift and if at any time in the judgement of the Board of Directors of RiGHT it is impractical or impossible to carry out this purpose, then the Board of Directors may use this bequest for other purposes that will be determined by the Board to be consistent with your interests and intentions.

 Let Us Know Your Plans

If you have already included RiGHT in your estate plans, please let us know by contacting us at (719) 657-0800.  We would like to thank you and acknowledge you for your generous commitment.


We look forward to sitting down with you and discussing your many options with estate planning. As beneficiary of any gift we would like to meet with you to document your future wishes for the gift, to discuss any requests you may have related to privacy and your giving, and to appropriately thank you for your generous support.  Your support will help us preserve our land and water for future generations to enjoy. 

If you would like to set up a meeting or if you have any questions please contact Nancy Butler, Executive Director at 719-657-0800 or

Thank You - The Headwaters Legacy Circle

 The Headwaters Legacy Circle is our way to say thank you. It acknowledges your planned gift and commitment to RiGHT.

Thank you again for your interest in RiGHT!


Caveat, the staff at the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust are not financial advisors or accountants.  We highly encourage you to meet with your advisors including attorneys, financial planners, and accountants.