For Unmarried Couples, Same-Sex Couples, and Family Members

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Here at Duke, we work with donors with many different personal and family situations—singles, couples, heterosexual, LGBTQ, married, unmarried, long-term partners, with kids or without, or those who have other loved ones for whom they wish to provide.

While each family may be unique in its form, they all share common financial and personal goals. They often seek financial security and the ability to provide for one another, yet they may lack the federal inheritance and tax benefits historically accorded to heterosexual marriages. Now, these same benefits have also been extended to married LGBTQ couples under the 2015 Supreme Court of the United States decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. However, no such benefits shall be given to couples who do not choose to legally marry, regardless of their commitment to each other, nor shall such benefits be given to other forms of familial relationships.

Charitable gift planning can be one avenue to help these couples and families achieve some of their financial and personal goals, even within these sometimes tricky and unfavorable tax and legal frameworks. Certain charitable gift strategies may allow more wealth to be transferred from one partner or family member to another than would otherwise be possible. These strategies can also provide a certainty that the gift to loved ones will be not subject to will challenge. Among the options:

  • Life income gifts can provide an income stream for you and a family member with payments for the duration of your lives or for a specific number of years, while also ensuring that chosen charities will be supported after death.
    • Charitable gift annuities provide a fixed income for life.
    • Charitable remainder trusts provide variable payments for a period of years or for life through a tax-exempt trust.
  • Charitable lead trusts can provide a highly tax-advantaged way to transfer assets to another person after a specific period of time while supporting a chosen charity.

Our office can work with you and your financial advisor to develop a gift plan that meets your financial, personal, and philanthropic goals. We invite you to contact the Office of Gift Planning at Duke University to learn more.

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