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Assignment of Dividends

How Your Assignment of Dividends to ABE Works — Your Plan's Unique Charitable Giving Feature

Founded by the ABA in 1942, the American Bar Endowment (ABE) is a §501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization composed of members of the American Bar Association. ABE makes annual grants to fulfill ABE’s charitable purpose of improving the administration of justice, one of our profession’s highest obligations. These grants support  research, public service and educational projects in the field of law including those of the American Bar Foundation and the ABA Fund for Justice and Education ABE also maintains the Legal Legacy Fund for the support of its grantees. By participating in ABE’s group insurance programs, designed for and available only to ABA members, members can contribute to these efforts. ABA members who enroll in ABE-sponsored insurance programs agree that their share of any dividends payable on the group policies may be retained by ABE for its charitable purposes unless reclaimed as outlined below. The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that members who donate their dividends to ABE are eligible for a charitable contribution deduction on their individual income tax returns. Contributions to ABE are tax deductible under Section 170(c) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, in accordance with IRS regulations and the March 1987 ruling provided to ABE by the IRS.

Members who donate dividends to ABE make a difference. These funds, after administrative expenses, are the primary source of ABE’s charitable grants and additions to the Legal Legacy Fund. Insured members who donate their dividends help meet their professional and public responsibilities, as well as obtaining valuable coverage for their families. About 85% of members donate their dividends; these members are notified each year by late January of the amount, if any, of their dividend donation for the prior year. (Dividends are not guaranteed, and in any given year, a given plan may not pay a dividend; dividends will vary from year to year.)

Members who wish to request a refund of their dividends may do so. The approximate percentage of premium available for refund (if any) on each plan will be published in each November issue of the ABA Journal. You do not need to wait for this information as refund requests are accepted beginning January 1. To request that dividends be paid to you rather than donated to ABE: After the first policy year of your participation, a written request for refund (by mail, fax, or email to dividends@abendowment.org) must be made each year and must reach ABE by December 15. When ABE receives your refund request, it will send a confirmation. Retain this for your records as proof your request was timely received. If you do not receive a confirmation within 3 weeks, contact the ABE promptly to obtain another copy. (Special instructions for new applicants are contained in the application and apply to dividends, if any, during the first policy year only.)

Dividend checks and/or contribution notices for your tax return are mailed by late January. If you receive a contribution notice and you did not intend to make a contribution, you may request a one-time waiver of the December 15 deadline by asking for a refund, if you have not previously requested such a waiver.

Please note: Members who do not want to contribute dividends to ABE must make a written request for refund each year, using the procedures above. When members sign the application, they are agreeing to make an annual decision whether to contribute. Do not sign the application if you do not agree with these procedures.

 

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