A bequest is a transfer of cash, securities, or other property through a will or a living trust. A bequest to Whitman can be made for a specific amount, for a percentage of your estate, or even for all or a portion of what is left after you have made specific bequests to your family and others. Similarly, you may name Whitman as a beneficiary of a retirement account, insurance policy, or commercial annuity.
There are many reasons to make a bequest. You may want to increase your support of Whitman, continue into perpetuity your contributions made during your lifetime, or establish a permanent endowment creating a lasting legacy at Whitman. Giving via bequest costs nothing now, yet it may give you a great deal of satisfaction to know that your future gift will live on. Additionally, making a bequest will lower the total taxable size of your estate that might be subject to estate tax, potentially reducing the amount of tax due from your estate. Read "Why is a Will Important?"
To make a gift to Whitman from your estate, you must sign a new will or living trust instrument, add a codicil to your present will, or make an amendment to your present trust instrument. To ensure that your exact intentions can be carried out by the college, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your plans and get help in drafting the language that will accomplish your charitable goals. Our assistance will streamline your meeting with your estate planning attorney to implement the new language for use in updating your documents. The following is a standard sample sentence you could use in your will or trust to leave a gift to Whitman through your estate.
"I give, devise, and bequeath to the Board of Trustees of Whitman College, an educational corporation located in Walla Walla, Washington, . . . [insert description of the gift as a dollar amount, percentage of the estate, a detailed or legal description of the property, or the residue of the total estate], . . . for such use as deemed appropriate by the Board of Trustees of Whitman College. . . [or insert a description of the purpose of the gift]."
Bequest provisions with restrictions on the designation of the proceeds towards a specific purpose or program require additional language in your will. Please contact the Office of Gift Planning for more information.
Other Testamentary Gifts
You may wish to use alternative assets to fund a bequest to Whitman instead of cash, securities or real estate. Through a relatively simple process you may name the college as a beneficiary or your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), insurance policy, annuity, or other tax deferred structures.
Assets held by a qualified retirement account, like an IRA or 401(k), are considered pre-tax assets and have grown tax deferred. Upon withdrawal, even after death, a distribution will be subject to income tax (unless transferred directly to a spouse). As a charitable organization, Whitman can receive retirement plan assets completely tax free and any assets contributed to Whitman in this manner will result in a charitable deduction and help reduce any estate tax your estate might incur.
To designate Whitman as a beneficiary of a retirement account, request a beneficiary designation form from the company administering your IRA. Using the beneficiary designation form, you will need to identify Whitman by its legal name, The Board of Trustees of Whitman College. Some administrators will also require Whitman's tax ID number, which is 91-0567740.
You may make Whitman College the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, and your estate will receive a charitable deduction from estate taxes for that gift. You may also, under certain circumstances during your lifetime, make Whitman the owner of a life insurance policy on your life, and receive a current income tax charitable deduction for a portion of the face value of that policy. For more information, please contact the Office of Gift Planning.
Certain commercial annuities allow you to name beneficiaries of the income or sometimes a lump sum principal distribution. Naming Whitman as the beneficiary of an annuity will prevent the value of the annuity's survivor benefits from being included in your taxable estate.