California Native Plant Society

Estate Planning


Rita Delapa, a member of the San Diego Chapter of CNPS, died in early 2005 at the age of 45. Some years before, she and her husband, Peter St.Clair, had decided to include a bequest to CNPS in their wills. Both believed in CNPS, and were happy to back up their personal commitment and volunteer work in this way.

Rita did not expect to die so young, but was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the fall of 2004. The money from their bequest is now being used by the San Diego Chapter to promote “Native Plants in Public Places.” This city program aims to restore and expand native plant gardens and interpretive signage at San Diego’s Old Town State Park, one of the most highly visited urban parks in the United States.

» Read more about Rita and Peter

A charitable bequest is simply a distribution from your estate to a charitable organization through your last will and testament.

A bequest allows you to make a significant and meaningful gift today, while preserving your assets during your lifetime. It is revocable, so you can change the provisions of your will or trust at any time.

Through your will or revocable trust you can specify that a portion of your assets come to us after your lifetime, and which program you’d like to support (conservation, horticulture, education, plant science) or you may leave it undesignated. Undesignated gifts allow us to direct resources to our top priorities. After your lifetime, the assets will pass to CNPS and will not be included in your estate for federal tax purposes. However, you cannot claim an income tax deduction when you make a bequest because the gift is revocable.

Typically, bequests come from accumulated assets rather than current income. They can be used to reduce or avoid probate. A simple will is often used for estates of $1.5 million or less.


  • Specific bequests – You describe exactly what you want to leave to a family member or charity. If you want to leave a specific amount, or specific percentage of your estate, this is the type of bequest to use.
  • Residuary bequest – This is a gift of all the “rest, residue, and remainder” of your estate after all other bequests, debts, and taxes have been paid.
  • Contingency bequest – This type of bequest allows you to leave a portion of your estate to a particular charity if your named beneficiary predeceases you.

We hope you will tell us when you have named CNPS in your will. We would very much like the opportunity to thank you for your generosity.

The more narrowly you restrict the use of your bequest, the greater the risk that the program you want to benefit today won’t be as relevant when we receive your gift in the future. Before making a restricted bequest, please review the page on restricted gifts. To assure that your wishes can be implemented as you desire please contact:

Stacey Flowerdew
CNPS Development Coordinator
(916) 447-2677, ext 204

California Native Plant Society
2707 K Street, Suite 1
Sacramento, CA 94816
Fax: (916) 447-2727

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