Common questions and answers

Questions and Answers

Q: What is a charitable gift annuity and how does it work?

A: A charitable gift annuity is a simple contract between you and the University of Nebraska Foundation. In exchange for your gift of cash, stocks or bonds, the foundation will pay a lifetime fixed income to you or another named beneficiary. You also receive an immediate charitable income tax deduction. If your goal is to receive a fixed income for yourself or your named beneficiary while also making a charitable gift, then a charitable gift annuity may be right for you.

Q: What is a retained life estate?

A: For many donors, their home is their most valuable asset. With a retained life estate, the donor deeds a personal residence, farm or vacation home to the University of Nebraska Foundation but retains the right to live in it for the rest of their life or a certain term of years. When the term ends, the foundation sells the property and directs the proceeds to the area of the university the donor has selected. In essence, nothing changes for the donor after making the gift — that’s the beauty of a retained life estate.

Q: Why is it important to share my estate gift intentions with the University of Nebraska Foundation?

A: There are many good reasons to document your intentions for a deferred gift. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Documenting your gift allows us to say thank you.
  • Providing us with copies of the relevant section of your will or trust helps us ensure your intentions for the gift are met.
  • Knowing your plans allows us to most efficiently administer your eventual gift and get it to work on campus as soon as possible.
  • Often, the estimated value of a bequest can be counted toward current fundraising totals, thus inspiring others to support the University of Nebraska.

Q: What if my philanthropic interests or financial circumstances change?

A: You may modify or remove gifts specified in your will, trust or beneficiary designations at any time. In general, it is beneficial to review your estate plan every five years to be sure it meets your current needs and circumstances. If you have created an agreement with us that specifically directs how your gift will be used to benefit the university, you may amend that at any time without charge. Our staff will work with you and your advisers to ensure that all documentation accurately reflects your current philanthropic goals.

Q: How can I preserve my retirement assets while helping the University of Nebraska today and in the future?

A: More and more donors are turning to a blended approach for their philanthropy. This strategy can take many different forms, but most often people establish a fund during their lifetime and make manageable gifts to it that can be put to use immediately. Then, through careful planning with a trusted adviser, donors can make a larger gift later in life or through their estate to establish an endowment — a permanent fund that preserves and grows the principal while producing income for the donor’s designated charitable purpose.

This blended approach provides critical financial support to campus immediately, allows the donor to see the fruits of their generosity and, by establishing an endowment, provides a mechanism for ongoing support of campus as well as a lasting personal legacy.

Q: What happens if I don’t have a will or an estate plan?

A: Absent a written plan, assets will pass according to state law. If there are minor children, they will receive assets outright at either age 18 or 21, depending on the state. Spouses of second marriages may receive half of the estate’s assets with the other half left directly to children. In cases of no immediate family, more distant relatives may receive some or all of the estate assets. Some federal and state estate tax laws are complicated, and it is most often in one’s best interest to have help and input from a trusted adviser, such as an attorney, accountant, financial adviser, trustee or personal representative. If your estate plan might include a gift to support the University of Nebraska, our staff is available to provide information and answer questions for you and, at your direction, any member of your planning team.


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