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Advancement: Your Connection to Union

Couples Story Illustrates Importance of Finding the Best Gift That Fits Your Situation

Bernard and Eunice OwenWhen Bernard '49 and Eunice Owen looked into a charitable gift annuity with Union College, they decided it wasn't the right fit for their situation—but they found a better option by naming Union as a beneficiary of their IRA.

Bernard and Eunice (both now deceased) believed in the Adventist education system. When their son Terry Owen '75 was asked why his parents wanted to include Union College in their estate plan, Terry said, "My dad went to Union College, his children went to Union College and his grandchildren went to Union College. The college certainly contributed to help build their estate and they wanted to give something back."

Bernard and Eunice felt strongly about having a well—planned estate, so they consulted with an attorney and formulated a plan. The Owens also contacted the Union College advancement office to discuss charitable gift annuities. The development staff provided a detailed and personalized illustration for the couple, letting them know about the benefits as well as the disadvantages of a charitable gift annuity.

After reading through the illustration, Bernard could see there were tax benefits to a charitable gift annuity such as a charitable deduction in the year he made the gift and a portion of his annuity income being tax—free. But Bernard wanted to know what would happen if their situation changed. Could they change their quarterly payments? Could they change their mind and have another charity receive the gift as well?

The answer to both these questions is no. One advantage of a charitable gift annuity with Union College is the payments do not change, so you know exactly what your payment will be for the rest of your life. Another benefit is the knowledge that Union College will receive the remaining balance of the annuity when you pass away.

To Bernard and Eunice, flexibility was more important than consistency, guarantees and immediate tax benefits. For those reasons, a charitable gift annuity was not a good fit for the Owens. "My mom and dad wanted to be able to maintain control of how their gift was going to be used," Terry said, "and be able to maintain flexibility should anything change."

Bernard and Eunice found the best way to make a gift to the college and maintain control was to name Union College as a beneficiary of their IRA.

Because the Owens maintained control of their gift, they were able to make some changes later on. When Bernard learned that a new science and mathematics complex would replace the aging Jorgensen Hall, he asked that his estate gift be restricted to help fund this project. Another change came when Bernard and Eunice thought about the time their grandchildren spent at Prairie View Adventist School (PVAS). The Owens wanted to give back to PVAS, so they included the grade school as a beneficiary on their IRA, too.

By naming Union as a direct beneficiary they also ensured a tax—efficient way of making their gift. Had they named one of their children as beneficiary of their IRA and given instruction in their will for the money to be given to charities, their IRA would have been taxed and a smaller amount would have gone to the schools.

Find Your Perfect Gift
If you want to explore options regarding the best way for you to make a gift to Union College like Bernard and Eunice did, please call Scot Coppock at 402.486.2503 or email him at He is happy to answer any questions you might have and to make suggestions of ways you can make a gift to Union College that is just right for you.

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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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