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Advancement: Your Connection to Union

Union Guides Estate Planning Process

Jim and Roxy Hoehn

Jim and Roxy Hoehn

Do you remember where you were on New Year's Eve in 1999? It may seem like we welcomed the new millennium only yesterday yet a lot has happened in these last 15 years.

For example, the United States has had three vastly different presidents; five new countries around the world have been established; the euro replaced currency in 18 countries; and at the outskirts of our galaxy, one relatively small chunk of rock lost its status as a full-fledged planet (sorry Pluto).

We have seen many changes already this century and most likely your life is vastly different as well.

Although a great deal can happen in 15 years it is pretty typical for people to go that long, or longer, without updating their estate plan. After all, thinking about one's own demise may not be the most pleasant exercise. There are a couple of ways to make the experience more enjoyable though.

  1. First, it is important to have a guide you can trust, leading the way to where you want to go and helping you cope with the worries along the way.
  2. Second, it helps to remember that creating and maintaining an estate plan is not for you, it's for the loved ones you leave behind. For example, it's for your young children who need a legal guardian; it's for your spouse who will need to continue to live without your love and companionship; and it's for charitable organizations, such as Union College, who will miss your support for their noble mission.

The Benefits of Giving Back
Jim '62 and Roxy '62 Hoehn recently went through the process of updating their estate plan and did so by seeking the help of Scot Coppock, Union College's Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG).

"We found Scot to be helpful and very knowledgeable," Jim says when describing their experience. "He made it possible for us to work with lawyers in the different states where we have our investments."

Barbara Pogue

Barbara Pogue

Barbara Pogue '50

Another supporter of Union College, Barbara Pogue '50 (now deceased) updated her trust after she and Scot reviewed her plan and discovered it no longer carried out her wishes.

Pamela Emerson '84, Barbara's daughter, said "Mom didn't realize the bottom line wasn't what she wanted. By updating her trust, her wishes were carried out.

Why Right Now
It need not take 15 years for an estate plan to go out of date; in fact, it is best to review your plan every couple of years to see if it still fulfills your wishes.

Perhaps it is best to consider estate planning as an ongoing and fluid process that should be updated as circumstances in your life change, or at the very least after having a major life event.

Some examples of a good time to review your plan are:

  • When getting married
  • After the birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
  • When a child or grandchild gets married or becomes an adult
  • When a beneficiary dies
  • Before getting re-married
  • After a significant change to your financial situation
  • When purchasing a home or other large asset

How Union Helps
The Hoehns and Barbara asked Union College to help counsel them on their estate plan because they wanted to continue to support Union after their deaths.

"Union is getting a share of our estate," Jim explains. "So we wanted to make use of the services that Union offers its supporters."

Scot is happy to help families work through the process of updating an estate plan so that it benefits family and loved ones and supports Union College and other beloved charitable organizations.

Scot followed up with the Hoehns and Barbara to ensure the plans were completed and included the appropriate professionals throughout the process—making sure the job was done right.

The Pogue family appreciated being kept informed throughout the process, and was even present when Barbara signed her new documents.

"Mom definitely wanted us to know what was happening," Pamela says. "Working through Union certainly simplified the process."

When the plan was up-to-date and the paperwork was all signed, Pamela says. "We were relieved that Mom's wishes would be carried out and that it was all taken care of."

Jim recalls his happiness at telling his children about their plans.

"It felt like the right thing," Jim says. "There are no regrets and we feel positive about including Union College in our plan."

Learn More
If you would like some help updating your estate plan, please contact Ken Farrow at 402-486-2600, Ext. 2200 or

Ken Farrow is happy to help you receive the peace of mind of an up-to-date estate plan can provide you and your loved ones.

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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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