Create a Legacy ❤️

For those of us who love animals, what more meaningful legacy could we leave than a gift that ensures compassionate care for animals in need? Planned gifts to the Humane Society of Sonoma County, such as a bequest in your will or trust, help to secure the future of our donor-supported safe haven for animals. Every gift, large and small, makes a significant difference to the animals – and you have a wide range of options, many of which offer significant tax benefits.

If you’ve made the decision to leave a legacy gift, please include the following information in your bequest or beneficiary documents:

  • legal name: Humane Society of Sonoma County
  • legal address: 5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa, CA 95407
  • EID (tax ID number): 94-6001315

Donors can deduct contributions made to us provided in IRC Section 170. We are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, legacies, devises, transfers, or gifts under IRC Sections 2055, 2106 and 2522.

If you’ve already created a legacy gift to the Humane Society of Sonoma County, or if you have any questions, please contact Kathryn McGovern, Development Manager by email at, or telephone at (707) 542-0882 x265.


A designated gift in your will or living trust is perhaps the simplest form of planned giving and the vehicle most commonly used.


For an unrestricted gift that allows Humane Society of Sonoma County to determine how to use the funds based on the most pressing needs, use the following language for your will and/or trust:

“I give to Humane Society of Sonoma County, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa, CA 95407, or its successor thereto, _________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted charitable use and purpose.”

To designate your provision for a particular purpose, use the following language for your will and/or trust:

“I give to Humane Society of Sonoma County, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa, CA 95407, or its successor thereto, _________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property]. This gift should be used for (state purpose) if and so long as Humane Society of Sonoma County determines that the need exists. If Humane Society of Sonoma County shall determine at the outset or at a later time that the need does not exist, or no longer exists or for some reason it is not possible (or prudent) to administer my gift as originally intended, then Humane Society of Sonoma County may, in its sole and uncontrolled discretion, direct the use of my bequest for a purpose related as closely as possible to that stated above.”

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that can be used to distribute your possessions to people and organizations when you pass away.

To take full advantage of your revocable living trust, you need to transfer your assets and property to the trust during your lifetime. Once you (the trust’s Grantor and Initial Trustee) pass away, a Successor Trustee will distribute the property in the trust according to your wishes outlined in the trust agreement.

Real Estate Gift

You may irrevocably transfer the ownership of a home or farm to the Humane Society of Sonoma County, retain the right to occupy the premises for the rest of your life and receive an immediate charitable tax deduction.

Life Insurance

Donating an existing life insurance policy can offer you a charitable income tax deduction.

Non-probate Assets

Do you have an IRA, 401(k), life insurance policy, or any other assets not included in your will? These are called non-probate assets and you must plan your beneficiaries for them separately.

Charitable Remainder Trust

A gift of assets establishes a trust and names the Humane Society of Sonoma County as ultimate beneficiary. You receive valuable tax benefits during your lifetime and retain for life the income generated from the assets given to the trust.

Donor Advised Fund

A giving vehicle established with a community foundation or charitable branch of an investment firm, you may contribute to your DAF as often as you like, receive immediate tax benefits and recommend grants from your fund to HSSC over time.

Retirement Accounts

Designating the Humane Society of Sonoma County as a beneficiary is an excellent way for you to make a gift to the Humane Society, using an asset that otherwise might be heavily taxed.

Retirement Account Required Minimum Distribution

A charitable gift to HSSC directly from your retirement account helps you fulfill your RMD and achieve associated tax benefits while supporting the animals.

Gift of Stock

With a transfer of appreciated stock to HSSC, you receive a charitable deduction based on market price and avoid capital gains tax.

Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)

If you are 70 ½ or older, you can transfer money from your traditional IRA or Roth IRA directly to HSSC. Those funds will not be added to your adjusted gross income on your taxes and can count toward your IRA’s required minimum distribution (RMD).

Planning for Your Pet’s Guardianship

It’s best for your animals if they can go directly to the home of someone else. Even a shelter as nice as ours is stressful for an animal – a safe home environment is always better. In the event that you may have no suitable alternative homing options, we are happy to help caring pet parents like you in planning for your pets’ guardianship. The main thing we advise is to include directions for your pets’ care in your will or trust documents. You can do so in very simple terms. An estate lawyer can help you with the language, to make sure it’s clear and binding.

If you don’t have a friend or family member who can take your animals into their home, you can specify that you wish your pet to be surrendered to the Humane Society of Sonoma County, 5345 Highway 12 West, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (EIN 94-6001315).

While we make every effort to take in every animal surrendered to us, we cannot, in good conscience, guarantee this. There are factors affecting our ability to do so that are not always within our control. This includes emergencies or disasters affecting our capacity, or if, due to behavioral, medical or other needs, it is determined that our shelter environment would be in any way detrimental to your pet. Our primary goal is always to do what is best for your pet. For any animal, avoiding the shelter environment is always best, so direct re-homing to another pet companion is always our first and highest recommendation.

For complete information on how to prepare for the rehoming or surrender of your pet, please go to our Re-Home a Pet page.

Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor.