DePaul alumni and friends, many of whom are long-time annual supporters of the university, are often surprised to find out how gifts made as part of their estate planning can magnify the impact of their philanthropy and bring significant tax benefits to them and their family.
Joel Schaffer, assistant vice president for planned giving, answers some basic questions about this increasingly important way of giving back.
What should donors think about when planning a gift through their estate?
First of all, have a will! Many people, for a variety of reasons, put it off. Nobody wants to work hard, save and accumulate assets only to have the state decide how those assets will be distributed. And even if you have a will, periodic review is important. Laws and circumstances change. Your attorney should help you with the initial drafting and updating.
What part can philanthropy play in an estate plan?
In addition to leaving a legacy for loved ones, various types of bequests can provide a significant charitable legacy for causes and institutions that are important to the donors. Many people find they can make a more significant gift to DePaul than they had thought possible earlier in life. They take great satisfaction knowing, for example, that they can endow a scholarship that will provide assistance to students for many generations to come.
How will they know the gift will be used for the purpose intended?
Donors can specify what area of DePaul you wish to support. Bequests and other planned gifts can support scholarships in a particular school or for students in a particular field. They can endow a professorship or help fund an important campus facility or program. Often people establish endowed funds in honor of family members, beloved professors or dear friends. We’re always happy to work with donors and their attorneys and advisors to make sure the donor’s intentions are clearly spelled out and honored.
What are the advantages of making a gift through a bequest?
An array of options exists. All of them offer significant tax advantages. There are trust arrangements that generate income for the university or for family members. Sometimes both. The university will work with donors and their advisors to find an approach that fits their philanthropic intent and estate-planning goals.
For more information on making a planned gift to DePaul University, contact the Office of Planned Giving: (312) 362-7369 or send an email.