A Time to Plan: Bonnie and Dale… | South Dakota Community Foundation

A Time to Plan: Bonnie and Dale Larson

March 25, 2024 // Community Savings Account, Donors, Estate Planning
Field with haybales
Dale and the late Bonnie Larson of Langford, South Dakota

When asked why he and his wife set up a fund with South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) to support their church, Dale Larson’s initial answer was that it was the right time. “We were organizing our estate and got the idea to do the fund,” he said. “We had been giving to the church from my IRA. Bonnie had an IRA too, and when we compared the value of the IRA balances, we realized if we combined them into a SDCF endowment, the annual payout would match our giving to the church.”

So in February 2023, the Bonnie & Dale Larson Langford Evangelical Lutheran Church Endowment Fund was established with qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from their IRAs. It will support Langford’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in perpetuity.

They’re easy to work with and the people are all professionals. I don’t know why people who could do something like this don’t do it.

Dale Larson, Langford, South Dakota

Dale added, “This was the time to do it.” Their planning took several things into account. He explained that the value of the land he owns in the Langford area continued to increase, which meant his family heirs would be well taken care of. In addition, the rental income from that farmland would cover any long-term care expenses. They would also benefit from the tax savings of creating the fund—both the taxes he and Bonnie would avoid by making the gift, and taxes their heirs would avoid by not inheriting the IRAs.

The planning didn’t end there, however, because perpetuity is a long time. “Bonnie said what if the church closes,” Dale chuckled a little speaking about his practical wife. To prepare for that possibility, they named as successor beneficiaries of the fund the two cemetery funds Dale had helped create in SDCF.

Dale has a long and active history with SDCF. He is a charter member of Langford Area Community Foundation (LACF), a community savings account with SDCF. “I was there when it started in 2008,” he said. “I’m proud it’s up over $250,000. We had over $11,000 in new funds to give out in grants this year.” He’s still a member of the LACF Advisory Council.

A few years later, he and his brother Dennis started a scholarship fund in memory of their older brother who passed away. Started in 2014, the Clark Larson Memorial Scholarship Fund is a sub-fund of LACF that helps a Langford High School graduate who participated in athletics.

In 2019, he and a friend started the Falnes Cemetery Fund at SDCF. The graveyard southeast of Langford is where all his family is buried. “As we talked about Falnes,” Dale smiled, “Bonnie asked what about the Hillside Cemetery in Langford?” which is where her family is buried. Motivated, he again recruited his brother Dennis to help start the Hillside Cemetery Fund, also a LACF sub-fund, to support that cemetery too.

Dale has enjoyed his involvement with SDCF. “They’re easy to work with,” he says, “and the people are all professionals.” When he reflects on his and Bonnie’s fund and the others he got started, he says, “I don’t know why people who could do something like this don’t do it.”

Sadly, Bonnie passed away in July 2023 five months after the fund was established and just two months before her and Dale’s 63rd anniversary. “We didn’t know Bonnie would pass so soon,” Dale said. “But it all really worked out that we were prepared.” He concluded, “We’ve been blessed.”

The people of the Langford area have been blessed by Dale and Bonnie’s planning too.

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