If you want to help build the Law School’s long-term financial strength but you aren’t comfortable making a significant gift today, consider a charitable bequest under your will or revocable trust.
How It Works
- You provide now for a future gift to the Law School Foundation by including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust.
- The Law School Foundation will receive the gift and apply it to the purpose(s) you specify.
- Your assets remain in your control during your lifetime.
- You can modify your bequest if your circumstances change.
- You can direct your bequest to a particular purpose (please check with the Law School Foundation to make sure your gift can be used as intended).
- There is no upper limit on the estate tax deductions that can be taken for charitable bequests.
- You have the satisfaction of making a significant gift to the Law School that does not affect your financial situation during your lifetime.
Sample Bequest Language
You may designate your bequest to be applied to the Law School’s unrestricted purposes (an “unrestricted bequest”). The funds will give the Law School flexibility to meet its greatest needs at the time your bequest is realized.
“I give to The University of Virginia Law School Foundation, a Virginia non-stock corporation located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the sum of $____________ [or property described herein] [or ____ percent (____%) of the rest of my estate] for its general purposes.”
You may instead designate a specific purpose for your bequest (a “restricted bequest”). For example, your bequest may be earmarked to endow a scholarship or professorship, enhance faculty research, support loan forgiveness programs, or to provide funds for another purpose that advances the mission of the Law School.
“I give to The University of Virginia Law School Foundation, a Virginia non-stock corporation located in Charlottesville, Virginia, the sum of $____________ [or property described herein] [or ____ percent (____%) of the rest of my estate] to be applied for the following purpose: _________________.”
If you want to restrict your bequest to a particular program or area at the Law School or to establish a scholarship or other endowed fund, we recommend that you ask the Law School Foundation to review your intended provision to be certain that your wishes can be carried out.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why choose a bequest?
- Because it is not payable until death, a bequest doesn’t affect your assets or cash flow during your lifetime.
- A bequest is revocable – you can modify the provisions in your will or trust at any time.
- A bequest is fully deductible for federal estate tax purposes, and there is no limit on the deduction your estate can claim. In addition, the gift is usually exempt from state estate taxes.
How do I structure a bequest?
You may choose one of several ways to structure your bequest:
- You may bequeath a specific dollar amount to the Law School Foundation ("I bequeath the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars [$10,000]") if you want to ensure that a specific amount will be available for the Law School’s benefit.
- You may bequeath a percentage of the residue of your estate after taxes, expenses and other bequests have been paid ("I bequeath Ten Percent [10%] of the residue of my estate") if you want the Law School Foundation to receive an amount that will be determined only after all other bequests and expenses have been paid and the estate assets have been valued.
- You may bequeath specific property (“I give my home located at 123 Main Street, Charlottesville, Virginia”). Please consult with us if you plan to give specific property so that we can confirm our ability to accept it.
Are there limitations on how I can direct my bequest?
You can direct your bequest to any program or need at the Law School that meets your passion (for example, financial aid, faculty support, student intellectual life, public service loan forgiveness or curricular initiatives). Or, you can make your bequest unrestricted to allow the dean to meet the Law School's greatest needs at the time your bequest is realized. We will be happy to talk with you about areas of support that will best fit your goals.
What if I've already written my will or trust?
You can amend a will or trust to make a gift without rewriting the entire document. Your attorney can prepare a simple document, called a codicil to your will, that adds a new bequest to the Law School Foundation while reaffirming the other terms of your will. Similarly, your attorney can prepare a simple amendment to a revocable trust to add us as a beneficiary.
- The more narrowly you restrict the use of your bequest, the greater the risk that the program you want to benefit today won't be as vital, as relevant, or as in need of funding when we receive your gift in the future. Please talk with us if you would like to restrict the use of your bequest.
- Similarly, please let us know in advance if you intend to bequeath real estate, a business interest, or other specialized property.
- The remaining balance in your retirement plan is a particularly tax-wise way to make a gift to the Law School Foundation, but don't direct it to us through your will or trust – that can create problems in your estate. Use your plan's successor beneficiary form instead.
For More Information
Email us, or call us at 877-307-0158 (toll free) or (434) 924-4154 (direct) so that we may answer your questions and help you through the process.
The materials provided in this website and the examples contained herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended as legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult your own legal and tax advisor.