Bequests are the easiest and most common way in which people make a gift from their estate. A bequest is defined in your will or living trust to give property or assets after your lifetime.
Giving by bequest costs nothing up front, yet it is rewarding to know that your future gift will benefit generations of Seton Hall students. Bequests of any size have a lasting impact on the University.
Benefits of a Bequest
- It is not payable until death.
- It is revocable; you can change it through a new will or a codicil if your situation changes
- Your donation is fully exempt from estate tax.
How to Make a Bequest
Consider gifts of this nature in relation to your estate plans. We strongly recommend that you consult with your attorney in the preparation of your will to ensure compliance with state requirements.
Always use the full legal name and federal taxpayer identification number when making bequests to a charitable organization. The University's full legal name is “Seton Hall University” and the Federal Taxpayer ID: 22-1500645. For gifts to the Immaculate Conception Seminary, the Federal Taxpayer ID is 22-1549746.
Types of Bequests and Sample Language
- Specific bequest: leaves the recipient a determined amount of money or an identified asset. “I leave Seton Hall University the amount of $10,000.”
- Residuary bequest: the recipient receives all or a portion of the assets left after the specific estate gifts have been paid out. “I leave 10% of the remainder of my estate to the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.”
- Contingent bequest: designates a recipient of all or a portion of your estate upon satisfaction of a specific condition. “I give $10,000 to my mother, Jane Doe, if she survives me, otherwise to the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund at Seton Hall University.”
Using funds from a retirement account to make bequests is often a good strategy. If there is a balance in your retirement account at your death, not only is there a potential income tax burden, but there may be estate taxes as well. Estimates are that taxes could eat up as much as 70-75% of retirement assets under certain circumstances. Allocating these funds to Seton Hall can help. Additional information regarding retirement assets »
Another option to consider in making a gift is to use life insurance policies that are no longer needed or necessary. More information about making a gift of life insurance »
Restricted or Unrestricted?
Unrestricted gifts are easiest to implement because the funds are applied towards the Seton Hall Fund. Gifts to this fund have great impact since we are able to put them to use immediately where they are needed most.
As with any gift, you may restrict your bequest to honor a particular family member or another person. You may also restrict your gift for the benefit of a particular program or purpose.
If you choose to restrict your gift, we strongly recommend that you notify the Office of Gift Planning, click to contact us, to make sure that we can apply your gift in the manner in which you intend.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bequests
I already have a will. Do I need anything else?
In addition to a will, most experts recommend that you have a durable healthcare power of attorney, which allows another person to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. In addition, a living will is helpful to your heirs in that it directs whether you want your life artificially supported.
I would like to amend my will to include a bequest.
You can use a codicil (a written amendment) to change a will. Always consult your attorney.
What happens to my personal possessions?
Personal possessions are best distributed through a tangible personal property memo in which you list the personal items you wish to give to specific people. Your will must mention the existence of this memo and you should keep a copy of it with your will.
How often should I update my will or trust?
These documents should be updated any time your financial or your family circumstances change. As laws vary from state to state, if you move you should have an attorney licensed in and familiar with the new state's laws review your will or trust agreement. It is always wise, even if there are not any significant changes in your circumstances, to periodically review these important documents. A good rule of thumb is to review your will every three years or when there are major changes to tax law, such as the 2010 Tax Act.