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One way or another, the University of Wyoming has made an enduring impact on you, a colleague, or a family member—through an education received at UW, through UW’s impact on your community or the state’s economy, through the university’s research, technology, outreach and services, or through its athletic programs. No matter how UW has touched your life, the easiest way to leave your own enduring impact and ultimately transform the lives of current and future generations of UW students is through an outright gift of cash, securities, artwork and collectibles, real estate, retirement plan assets, life insurance, business interests, and oil and gas or other mineral interests. You can make an immediate impact with these gift options, which can also have significant tax benefits.
There are many creative ways to fulfill your charitable planning goals and also take care of your heirs and beneficiaries at the same time, all with tax benefits. For example, you could establish a charitable remainder trust, which during your life provides income for you and your family, and upon death and expiration of the trust, the remaining assets pass to UW in accordance with your wishes, thus creating a lasting family legacy. This option may offer you significant income and estate tax benefits. Another creative solution is through a charitable lead trust, which satisfies your charitable giving goals up front through annual payments to the UW program or area of your choice. The assets remaining in the trust, and upon the expiration of the charitable lead term they pass to your children or grandchildren. If structured properly, what your heirs receive can be free from estate and gift taxes. Finally, most estate and charitable plans can be enhanced by a properly structured life insurance component. Assuming health and insurability are not an issue, life insurance is a great way to provide additional dollars, either to your family or to UW. The exact structure of the life insurance vehicle is based upon your goals and assets.
Maybe you would like to provide income to your spouse and family after your death, perhaps through a trust, or maybe you would like to provide supplemental income for a special needs person without disqualifying them for other benefits. At the same time, you would like to be able to provide a charitable gift to UW. Charitable gift annuities do both—they enable you to create a predictable stream of income for you and your loved ones while allowing you to fulfill your charitable giving goals.
Both charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts can provide added retirement income to you and your family. You donate cash or property to the UW Foundation in exchange for fixed or variable payments for the rest of your life or for a fixed term. There are many tax benefits to this type of arrangement.
With a charitable remainder trust, your payments can either be based on a percentage of the value of the assets on an annual basis (called a Unitrust), or can be a fixed payment determined at creation of the trust (called an Annuity Trust). With the Unitrust, the payments you set up for yourself today, but receive tomorrow, will adjust with inflation and grow with the market. The Annuity Trust is consistent and based a known amount that can be budgeted for. However, the Annuity Trust does not hedge against inflation.
Do you remember the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? It also applies to financial planning. You want to diversity your asset allocations among and within the categories of stocks, bonds, cash, and other investments. Charitable planning can help you diversify your asset mix when you are facing tax implication such as when you are considering the sale of highly appreciated assets. By including a charitable component in your financial and estate plan, you might find that you can save money in taxes that you can reinvest or pass on to family members.
When you retire, you may decide to downsize your residence or to move into a retirement community. With careful estate and charitable planning, you can reduce or eliminate long-term capital gains from the sale of an extra home.
If you would like to support your university significantly, one option is to give your home, vacation home, or farm to UW while still living in it and maintaining it during your life. By setting up a retained life estate, you not only benefit generations of UW students through the value of your gift, but you can also continue to live in your home for the remainder of your life.
Perhaps you have a C.M. Russell bronze or maybe you have spent your professional life analyzing and collecting oil well data, and you would like to donate these items as part of your estate so that others can enjoy them. UW will consider such gifts and can often use them to further the purposes of the university.
Amounts remaining in qualified retirement plans at death may be subject to both income and estate taxes at both the state and federal tax levels, thus potentially exposing the plan to four different levels of tax. For this reason, charitable gifts of retirement plan balances may be a good alternative for you in your estate and charitable planning. It's easy—just designate UW as a beneficiary. Another way to save on taxes is by gifting from your IRA directly to a charity through a qualified charitable distribution, which goes toward you required minimum distribution.
Perhaps you have worked hard and achieved success in your life, and now you are in a position to give back. Rest assured that your gift will have an impact within the area you designate and upon UW’s students, faculty, and programs. Alternately, you may have the desire to create a legacy at UW but believe that you don’t have the means. You might be surprised—an estate gift is the perfect way to make a significant and lasting impact at UW while leaving a legacy for yourself, your family, and UW’s students.
Financial and estate planning when done properly includes a discussion of family values and how to ensure that those values continue for generations to come. Our Planned Giving Team can engage with you and your advisors in these discussions to help education you and your family regarding the charitable tools available to accomplish your goals. We can also help to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your gift is put to the most beneficial use by matching your desires with the needs of the department or program that you want to support. A great way to pass on your values is by naming a fund in honor of an important family member, friend, or a mentor.
What better way to pass on your legacy, or that of a loved one or mentor, than through a planned gift to UW? Your fund can carry forward your family values and the legacy you want to leave behind, or you can remain anonymous. Your gift will pay it forward by helping the leaders of tomorrow lead happy, healthy, and successful lives and to give back in their own ways. What a lasting tribute!