Frequently Asked Questions
General Gift Planning
What is gift planning?
Gift planning is the process of carefully selecting the best method and the best assets for making a charitable gift now or after your lifetime. With a planned gift, you can assist Michigan Tech while reducing your tax burden and continuing to enjoy financial benefits. Planned gifts include a will or trust bequest, a retirement plan or life insurance beneficiary designation, and life income gifts. See Giving Options.
Isn't estate planning for retirees?
Estate planning is recommended for the young professional as well as the retiree. When it comes right down to it, no one dies without a will. If a person dies without leaving a will behind, state laws determine the disposition of the deceased’s estate, which may be a far cry from the deceased’s wishes. Most importantly, if the deceased has dependent children, the state may determine who will care for them.
Wise gift planning can help ensure that more of your assets are available to meet your objectives. For example, if you need a tax deduction now and want to supplement your retirement income for the future, a deferred charitable gift annuity can be an effective method to accomplish these dual objectives.
How will I know my gift will be used as I intended?
It is important to Michigan Tech that each and every gift be used for the purpose communicated by the donor. The designation of cash- and security-based gifts is confirmed on the official tax receipt issued to the donor. With regard to planned gifts, we encourage donors to complete and mail a McNair Society declaration of intent form to the Office of Gift Planning. In addition to conveying your wish concerning McNair Society membership, this form will provide us with a record of your wishes regarding the eventual use of your estate gift.
How do I get started with my estate and gift planning?
Michigan Tech has several tools to help you get started with your estate and gift planning:
- Visit our How to Plan Your Gift website.
- View a presentation showing the benefits of a planned gift.
- Use our online Wills Planner to create or update your plan. Or, contact the Office of Gift Planning to request our Guide to Planning Your Will and Trust, which will help guide you through your decisions and prepare you to meet with an estate planning attorney.
- Learn how others have made an impact at Michigan Tech by reading the Donor Stories online. Or, contact the Office of Gift Planning to request our Gift Planning Guide.
Should I retain legal counsel or consult with a tax advisor before creating a planned gift?
Yes. While we are more than happy to work with you and your advisors to develop a plan to meet your goals, we strongly recommend that you consult with your own advisors for a full discussion of the legal and tax implications of your financial and charitable estate planning.
What is an endowed gift?
An endowment is often described as a gift that keeps on giving. Endowments are kept separate from the operational funds of the University and the Michigan Tech Fund. They are invested for long-term stability and growth because our policies prohibit us from spending the principal. Only the earnings, or a portion of the earnings, are used each year to support the endowment's specified purpose. An endowment can be funded through current gifts, an estate gift, or a combination of the two. An endowment can provide resources—in your name or the name of a loved one—to the program of your choice for generations to come. See Leverage Your Gift.
Should I tell you if I include Michigan Tech in my will or other estate plans?
Yes. We strongly encourage you to contact our Office of Gift Planning. We want to be able to thank you, and we want to know your wishes regarding the eventual use of your estate gift. Also, with your permission, we want to honor your generosity and commitment to the future of Michigan Tech with membership in our McNair Society.
What are the three primary types of bequests in a will or trust?
- A specific bequest is the simplest form of bequest. It designates a fixed dollar amount or specific assets to a beneficiary, the Michigan Tech Fund in this case. This type of bequest is appropriate when you have a definite dollar amount or a specific item of value (e.g., stocks, bonds, real estate, a mineral collection, or rare books) that you wish to leave to Michigan Tech.
- A residual or proportional bequest designates either your entire estate or a percentage of your estate after your specific bequests have been distributed. The advantage of designating a portion of your estate to the Michigan Tech Fund is that the bequest automatically adjusts in size as your estate increases or decreases over the years.
- A contingent bequest is fulfilled only if circumstances make it impossible to carry out a primary bequest. For example, if all other beneficiaries are deceased, a contingent beneficiary receives the bequest.
The simplest way to leave the balance or a portion of your retirement plan assets to Michigan Tech after your lifetime is to list the Michigan Tech Fund as a beneficiary on the beneficiary form supplied by your plan administrator. See Retirement Plan Assets and Bequests in a Will or Trust.
Contact the Office of Gift Planning for more information.
How do I create a bequest to the Michigan Tech Fund?
Your will is a legal document and should be drafted or amended by an attorney. The Office of Gift Planning will be happy to work with you and your attorney to draft a bequest that fits your situation, satisfies your personal goals, and meets Michigan Tech’s needs.
Your bequest can benefit your favorite college, department, or program. Alternatively, you may choose to provide a bequest for unrestricted support, which can be designated by the University to its greatest need at the time of payment.
Contact the Office of Gift Planning for more information.
What language is suggested for a bequest in a will or trust?
Suggested language for a will or trust bequest:
I give to the Michigan Tech Fund, a Michigan nonprofit corporation of Houghton, Michigan, _____________ [dollar amount OR percentage of the residue of my estate OR description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose [OR for the benefit of ____________ department/program].