Bequests and Other Testamentary Gifts

Unwrapping Gifts Video Series: Bequests and Retirement Account Designations

Please let us know if you have included Duke in your estate plans. You can complete a confidential Confirmation of Legacy Gift Form (pdf format) or feel free to contact our staff with any questions you may have.

Gifts by Will or Revocable "Living" Trust

The most common form of deferred gift to support Duke is a bequest contained in a person's will or revocable (living) trust. The following language is an example of how a bequest to benefit Duke may be worded:

I give, devise and bequeath to Duke University, a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organization located in Durham, North Carolina, _____ percent of my residual estate (or a specific bequest of $__________, or other personal or real property appropriately described) for (a specific college, school, program or unrestricted use), to be used in accordance with the terms of the most recent written directive I have signed with the University, and, if none exists, to be used as directed by the (e.g. President, Provost, Athletic Director, Dean of the School of ___) at Duke University.

Gifts of Retirement Plans

Naming Duke as a primary or contingent beneficiary of a retirement plan (e.g. IRA, SEP, 401(k), 403 (b), ESOP, etc.) may enable you to make a larger gift than you anticipated because income and estate taxes are not imposed when plan assets are distributed to Duke. If left to an heir, the plan assets are subject to income tax. Your retirement account's plan administrator (the company that manages the account) can help you designate Duke University as a primary or contingent beneficiary on the plan's beneficiary designation form. (Please send Duke a copy of this form.)

Testamentary Life-Income Gifts

You can fund a charitable gift annuity, charitable remainder unitrust, charitable lead trust, or pooled income fund through your will. While these gift plans will not generate tax savings during your lifetime, they may reduce estate taxes and provide life income for a loved one.

Gifts of Life Insurance

You can name Duke as a primary or contingent beneficiary of a life insurance policy. If you retain any control over the policy, no income tax deduction is allowed; however, if Duke is named both the sole owner and beneficiary of a paid-up policy, you may receive an immediate charitable deduction for the lesser of the policy's fair market value or the net premiums paid. Additional premiums that you pay may also be tax deductible.

Retained Life Estate in Property

You may generate a current income tax deduction by giving a home or farm to Duke, while retaining the right to use the property during your lifetime. The property will also be removed from your taxable estate. Contact Duke's Office of Gift Planning to discuss this gift opportunity in more detail.