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The Catholic University of America

Bequest Language

Testamentary Bequests

A bequest is a gift of any amount or form made in a donor's will. Bequests may provide for a specific dollar amount in cash; specific securities; specific articles of tangible personal property such as works of art, antiques, silver, jewelry; or a specific percentage (or all) of the residue of the estate.

Bequests may be given as unrestricted or restricted gifts to the university. A gift, in any amount, may be accepted into an existing fund directed toward a specific need of the university so long as the terms of the existing fund permit.

Unrestricted bequests are used for the general purposes of the university and can be applied to current needs. Currently, a named unrestricted endowment fund may be established with a gift of $100,000 or more.

Restricted bequests support a certain purpose, program or school designated by the donor. Currently, a named restricted endowment fund may be established with a gift of $100,000 or more.

A will may also include a provision to establish a gift annuity, an annuity trust or a unitrust. Such a bequest can be arranged to provide a life income for a spouse or loved one by designating that the bequest be used to establish a charitable remainder annuity trust or charitable remainder unitrust. If such a gift is made by will, the principal will pass to The Catholic University of America only after the death of the life income beneficiary. Before establishing a gift annuity, annuity trust, or unitrust for a loved one, please consult with your tax attorney to determine any potential gift tax consequences to your estate. Your language should allow for an alternative gift vehicle should the amount designated not meet the minimum necessary for the life income instrument.

Testamentary gifts can be made by execution of a new will or adding a codicil to an existing will.

Sample Language for Testamentary Bequests

For the most common simple provision in a person's will, the two key variables are the portion of the person's estate that they want to bequeath to CUA, and whether there are any restrictions on the use of the bequest by the university. Thus, the following sample includes options appearing in brackets for alternate language to be used, depending on the donor's intentions.

The following language is sufficient for testamentary bequests in most jurisdictions:

"I hereby give, devise and bequeath to The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.,

the sum of $___________

[or "the rest, residue and remainder of my estate"]

[or "_____% of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate"]

to be used by the University for general [restricted, or endowed] purposes

[for the School of __________________]."

Additional sample language to consider, should you desire your donation to be for endowed purposes, whereby the principle remains intact in perpetuity:

"Whereas, the sum I hereby give, devise and bequeath to The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., to establish [name of endowed fund] does not meet the threshold to fund an endowment, under CUA's policies and procedures at the date of distribution, such amount shall be used to establish a non-endowed fund for the same purpose. And whereas, in the opinion of the President and the Board of Trustees, all or part of this bequest cannot be usefully applied to this purpose due to changed circumstances, they may use this bequest for any purpose that in their opinion will most nearly accomplish my wishes and purposes."

The language provided here are only suggested terminologies and are meant to be used with the advice of your attorney. Of course, the gift planning office (202-319-6914) is happy to answer questions. We can also provide information about "planned gifts," which allow donors to gain an immediate tax deduction during their lifetime, continue to get an income during their lifetime, get the enjoyment of making a gift to CUA, and often may help avoid estate taxes. These gifts include life insurance, gift annuity contracts, annuity trusts and other kinds of planned giving vehicles.

We encourage you to share your final will provision with the University to ensure that your wishes will be properly followed and recognized: The Catholic University of America, Office of Gift Planning, 620 Michigan Ave., NE, (Aquinas Bldg. 106) Washington DC, 20064.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Catholic University of America a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to The Catholic University of America, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington DC 20064, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Catholic University or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property, or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Catholic University as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Catholic University as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Catholic University where you agree to make a gift to Catholic University and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.