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Historically Lewis

Home of the Lewis County Historical Society

What Is an Estate Note?

  • An estate note is an irrevocable pledge or debt against your estate as a donor. 
  • It is done through an instrument that binds the donor’s estate to the extent not paid during the donor’s lifetime. 
  • Estate notes may be pledged for either one or two lives. With a two-life estate note (such as you and your spouse), the obligation is binding only on the estate of the person who lives longer. 
  • The Lewis County Historical Society recommends this option for persons 65 years of age or older. 

Benefits of Estate Notes:

  • You may make a charitable gift to the Lewis County Historical Society after your lifetime without revising your current will or estate plans. 
  • As the donor, there is no obligation to transfer assets during your lifetime, although the estate note does offer the flexibility to make payments against the note during one’s life. 
  • Dollar amounts of estate notes count toward fundraising campaigns, while bequest intentions sometimes do not. If the Lewis County Historical Society is already in your will, an estate note may be signed for some portion of the bequest you expect to come to the Historical Society. 
  • Charitable contributions from estate notes may be designated for specific purposes.
  • The estate note of the Lewis County Historical Society is a single-page document. 

Tax Considerations:

  • Signing an estate note does not qualify you, as the donor, for a charitable deduction. 
  • Payments against the obligation during your lifetime will provide income-tax deductions in the year made (up to the full amounts permitted by the IRS tax code). 
  • Unpaid estate note balances will provide the estate with an estate-tax deduction. Any amount outstanding on the estate note is deducted from the gross estate before any taxes are applied.

How It Works

  1. You make a pledge of support to the Lewis County Historical Society
  2. You execute an estate note to pay off a pledge from estate assets in case the pledge remains unpaid at death


You are assured that the programs you wish to support at the Lewis County Historical Society will receive all the funds you intend