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Advancement: Your Connection to Union

Couple's Gift Helps Them Through Lean Times

BentonsWhile living on a shoestring and barely making ends meet, Elvin ‘50 and Pat Benton decided the best thing to do was to give two acres of valuable riverfront land to Union College.

When Elvin retired, Pat made it a priority to spend as much time with him as she could. In order to do this she retired as well, which created a shortfall in income and a very tight family budget.

To close this income gap the Bentons gave a gift to Union College that provided them an immediate tax deduction, a deferral on paying capital gains tax on their highly appreciated land and an income stream for the next 15 years. At the conclusion of the decade and a half Union endowed the remaining funds to help educate students in perpetuity, making the Bentons' gift as enduring as the land they gave.

Pat did not attend Union College but fell in love with the institution when the couple attended Elvin's 50th reunion celebration. "It was love at first sight," Elvin recalls. "Pat could see the people at Union were authentic and the students were different from any other students she had seen before."

After attending Union's Homecoming weekend, Pat read an article in CORDmagazine explaining how one can give a gift of land to the college and receive a stream of income. She called Todd Mekelburg, then Union's Director of Leadership Giving, to get more information and was pleased with how concerned he was for their wellbeing. "Todd explained our options quite well and helped us structure the gift in a way that was best for us," Pat declared.

The Bentons gave a piece of land that was not producing any income and, in fact, was a drain on their budget because of the property taxes they paid. They transformed the land into an income stream for 15 years, helping them through some difficult years financially. "In those initial years we needed the money. The income was part of our bread and butter," Pat explained.

Because of the added income from their gift of land, Pat was able to maximize her own Social Security benefits by deferring them until age 70. By deferring her Social Security income Pat took advantage of Social Security's spousal benefits which allowed her to receive half of Elvin's benefit payments without reducing his at all.

When Pat began receiving her pension and spousal Social Security benefits at age 66 things were much better financially for the Bentons. "The income from Union helped us through a really tight period," Pat said. "When this income began coming in we were able to start saving money which made it possible to have a much more comfortable retirement nest egg."

When the Bentons were asked why they decided to make Union the beneficiary of this gift Elvin said, "Union is my school and I have many fond memories of the years I spent there. We had given many small gifts to Union over the years, but nothing substantial. When we discovered a way to give a larger, more impactful gift, while helping our own financial situation, it just made sense."

For more than 30 years the Bentons have supported Union College's mission with their annual charitable gifts. Through their gift of land they were able to have the income they needed to spend their retirement years together and continue to help provide an education to students at Union College.

If you would like to learn more about how you can create an income stream through a gift to Union College, please contact Ken Farrow, Director of Leadership Giving, at 402-486-2600, Ext. 2200 or Ken Farrow can help you find ways to improve your income or meet other financial goals while supporting Union College's mission to provide a Christ-centered campus that empowers students for a lifetime of learning, service and leadership.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Union College 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Union College, a certified 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation registered in the State of Nebraska, [written amount or percentage of the etate 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 Union College 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 Union College 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 Union College 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 Union College where you agree to make a gift to Union College 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.

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