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Estate Gifts

This popular method of giving enables you to support your family and benefit Washington University in ways that may not be possible through lifetime gifts.

  • Giving through your estate plan generates a charitable estate tax deduction—and substantial tax savings.
  • You may direct all or a portion of your estate to the university.
  • The assets, regardless of their value, are not subject to estate taxes.

The Office of Planned Giving can provide you and your counsel specific language for your will, trust or beneficiary form. Please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503.

Please consult with your legal or tax advisor before making a charitable gift.

           Wills and Trusts
           Beneficiary Designations
           Payable/Transfer on Death Designations
           Qualified Retirement Plans (QRP)
           Commercial Annuities
           Life Insurance
           Testamentary Life Income Plans

 


Wills and Trusts

You may provide for the university through your estate plan by naming the university in your will or trust.  You may designate a specific dollar amount, a percentage of the estate, or a specific asset. Giving through your will or trust enables you to specify the purpose of your gift, add to a fund you already have established, and reduce your estate taxes by generating a charitable estate tax deduction.

As you consider a gift through your estate plan, the Office of Planned Giving can provide specific language for your will or trust to create a named scholarship endowment fund.  We encourage you to contact the Office of Planned Giving to discuss specific language that will fulfill your charitable giving objectives.   

To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503 or email plannedgiving@wustl.edu

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Beneficiary Designations

Naming the university as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, life insurance policy or commercial annuity is simple and you retain the right to change or amend the beneficiary designation. You may designate the university as beneficiary by completing a Change of Beneficiary form.

Giving these assets to the university is an excellent tax-planning strategy since distributions to the university are not subject to income and estate taxes. Distributions made through beneficiary designations are not subject to probate.  It also is possible to designate the university as beneficiary on bank and brokerage accounts through a payable or transfer on death designation.

To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503 or email plannedgiving@wustl.edu.  

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Payable/Transfer on Death Designations

Bank and Brokerage Accounts
In many cases, it is possible to designate the university as beneficiary on your bank accounts and other financial investments. By completing a Payable on Death or Transfer on Death designation with your financial institution(s), you retain the right to change the beneficiary on the accounts as long as you own them. After your death, the funds for the designated accounts are not subject to estate taxes and will pass outside of probate and transfer directly to the university. Because each financial institution may have its own guidelines, it is important to verify specific procedures with your financial institution.  The university can provide the information to complete the beneficiary designation or payable/transfer on death designation.
 
To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503 or email plannedgiving@wustl.edu.
 

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Qualified Retirement Plans (QRP)

Gifting a distribution through your qualified retirement plan (QRP) at your passing is one of the most tax-efficient ways to give. Your QRP, such as an IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) may be one of your largest assets, one that has grown appreciably through the years. You may want to leave these funds to your family or other individuals after your death; however, distributions from retirement plans given to individuals other than your spouse may be subject to both income and estate taxes. This loss to income and estate taxes can often exceed 50 percent or more.
 
You can avoid or reduce this loss to taxes by naming the university as a death beneficiary of the QRP. QRP distributions received by the university are not subject to income or estate tax. You may also designate the assets of a QRP in whole or in part to a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity with income paid to beneficiaries such as family and friends. This will reduce tax losses due to income and estate taxes, provide income for life or a specified number of years, and provide a significant gift to the university when the trust ends.
 
Many individuals are interested in making an outright gift from their IRA through the charitable tax-free IRA rollover.   Click here to learn more.
 
To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503 or email plannedgiving@wustl.edu.
 


Commercial Annuities

You can make the university a total or partial beneficiary of an annuity contract such as a tax-deferred annuity.  As a result, you avoid taxes that would be incurred if your family members or other individuals received the proceeds from the annuity after your death.  Upon your death, distributions from annuities may be subject to significant income and estate taxes if distributed to individuals; however, both income and estate taxes can be avoided if the university is named as beneficiary. The Office of Planned Giving can provide information on naming the university as beneficiary on commercial annuity contracts.
 
To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503 or email plannedgiving@wustl.edu
 


Life Insurance

Life insurance can be a very flexible and effective means to support your favorite programs at the university. 

There are several ways to make a gift of life insurance:

Revocable Beneficiary Designation
You can name Washington University as a partial or full beneficiary of a life insurance policy.  You will retain full control of the policy during your lifetime, and the university will receive the insurance proceeds at your death. Your estate will receive a charitable estate tax deduction for the amount of the gift provided to the university upon your death.

Gift a "Paid-Up" Life Insurance Policy
You may transfer ownership of a paid-up life insurance policy (one on which you no longer are required to make premium payments) as an irrevocable gift to the university.  You may receive a charitable income tax deduction.
 
Gift an Existing Policy on Which Premiums Are Still Being Paid
You also may give the university a life insurance policy on which premiums are still being paid.  To make such a gift, you may irrevocably assign ownership of the policy to the university.  Since the university will be required to pay the remaining premiums on the policy to prevent it from lapsing, you will make an annual tax-deductible gift to the university that is equal to the premium owed.  The university will make the premium payments to the insurance company.  You may also receive a charitable income tax deduction if the policy has cash value.
 
Gift a New Policy
You may make a gift of life insurance by taking out a new insurance policy and naming the university as owner at the time the policy is issued.  Since the university will be required to make the subsequent premium payments in order to keep the policy in force, you will make a tax-deductible contribution to the university equal to the required premium payments. The university would then make the premium payments to the insurance company. 
 
Gifts of life insurance, with the exception of revocable beneficiary designations, require an appraisal from a qualified appraiser to substantiate your deduction.
 

To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503 or email plannedgiving@wustl.edu.

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Testamentary Life Income Plans

Establishing a Life Income Plan through Your Estate
Many people want to make a significant gift to the university through their estate plan, but may have concerns about providing for survivors. Some alumni and friends have funded a life income plan, such as a charitable remainder trust or gift annuity at their passing. You may include language in your estate plan that directs a gift to the university by establishing a plan that will make payments to named beneficiaries such as your spouse, family members or friends. When the payments end, the remaining assets will be used by the university to support the school or program you designate. A portion of your gift will generate a charitable estate tax deduction.

To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving or call (314) 935-5373 or (800) 835-3503 or email plannedgiving@wustl.edu.

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