In 1993, at a property rights gathering in Denver, Colorado, a booth showed a topographical map of a forested, rural area at the western tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with this banner, “Help Straighten Out Crooked Lake.” “I’ll bite,” I told the woman at the booth. “How do we straighten out Crooked Lake?” Kathy Stupak-Thrall’s grandfather had built a cabin near Crooked Lake where she and her husband Ben and their children summered. But a neighbor, the U.S. Forest Service, thought it had the right to regulate her use of the lake contrary to 156 years of Michigan law.
Mountain States Legal Foundation took her case. Our journey led us to a federal district court in Michigan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, including a rare en banc hearing there, and then back to Michigan where her property rights, and those of her neighbors—a World War II disabled veteran and his wife—were upheld. In 2013, the Forest Service, despite her victory over the agency, resumed its mischief; so, with Kathy’s urging, we agreed to represent her neighbors David and Pamela Herr. Their two landmark victories at the 6th Circuit were appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States by radical environmental groups that intervened in the case. Days ago, the Court denied the petition; Kathy and her neighbors’ triumph was at last complete.
Recently, I keynoted the Property Rights Foundation of America’s 22nd Annual National Conference in Latham, New York. I was introduced by Kathy, so I took the occasion to present her an Eagle Award for being a passionate, patriotic, and relentlessly persistent client. We could not have done it without her.
You share in that award that Kathy Stupak-Thrall received, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF) is a nonprofit, public interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government and free enterprise system. It is an Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) entity incorporated in the State of Colorado. Tax ID# 84-0736725
A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Mountain States Legal Foundation a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.
an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan
I [name], of [city, state, ZIP] give, devise and bequeath to Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), (tax identification number 84-0736725) 2596 South Lewis Way, Lakewood, Colorado 80227, [written dollar amount or percentage of the estate or description of the property] to continue its mission to protect and preserve individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government and economic freedom.
able to be changed or cancelled
A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.
cannot be changed or cancelled
tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient
the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation
the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase
the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on
The person receiving the gift annuity payments.
the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid
a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will
the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will
A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to MSLF or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.
An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.
Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.
Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.
Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.
A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.
You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.
You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to MSLF as a lump sum.
You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to MSLF as a lump sum.
A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.
A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and MSLF where you agree to make a gift to MSLF and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.