How to Make a Planned Gift

By establishing a Planned Gift, the donor creates a lasting legacy at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Planned gifts are an important component in supporting the mission of the Medical College. They can help to build the College’s endowment and provide for the future growth of its programs.

There are a variety of types of planned gifts. The most popular is a charitable bequest through your will, which is deductible for estate tax purposes. Life income gifts are also frequently used as they can provide lifetime benefits to the donor and their beneficiaries, while eventually benefiting the Medical College of Wisconsin.

For more information about these gift options or how to create or update your legacy plan contact Stephen Davis at (414) 805-3308 or

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  Charitable Bequests

The most popular planned gift is also the simplest. Bequests made through one’s will may be designated for the Medical College’s unrestricted use or contribute to or set up an endowment fund for restricted purposes, for example: scholarships or research in an area such as cancer or cardiovascular disease.

If you wish to make a bequest, or have already done so, it is helpful if you inform the Medical College of Wisconsin. This ensures that the College is able to fulfill your intentions for which the bequest is designated. To do so or for more information please contact our Major Giving Office at (414) 805-3311.

  Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA)

The Charitable Gift Annuity is an easy method of providing a life income gift. It is a simple agreement between the donor and the Medical College of Wisconsin. In exchange for a gift of cash or appreciated securities, the donor and/or other beneficiary(ies) receive(s) a fixed payment based on the age of the beneficiary(ies) at the time the gift is made. Annuities are for one or two lives, and the annuity rate is typically based on recommended rates established by the American Council on Gift Annuities. Payment may begin immediately or at a future date.

  Deferred Gift Annuity

A variation of the charitable gift annuity is the Deferred Gift Annuity. Middle-aged professionals, particularly those who have "maxed out" of their retirement plans, may want to consider this option. Under this arrangement, the donor receives an income tax deduction at the time of the gift (usually during the high income years) and postpones the annuity payments until a later date (usually after retirement) when s/he may be in a lower tax bracket. In so doing, the donor can effectively supplement his/her retirement plan(s) and make a substantial gift to the Medical College of Wisconsin, one that will leave a lasting legacy.

  Charitable Lead Trust

A Charitable Lead Trust is the reverse of a charitable remainder trust. Under a Charitable Lead Trust arrangement, annual income from the trust is paid to the Medical College of Wisconsin for a specified number of years. The principal of the trust then reverts to the donor (a grantor lead trust) or passes to a non-charitable beneficiary(ies) designated by the donor, such as children or grandchildren (non-grantor lead trust). The income interest for the Medical College may take the form of a fixed annuity or a fixed percentage of the value of the trust assets valued annually.

Due to the fact that the value of the charitable interests is tax-deductible for gift and estate tax purposes, the lead trust is often used to reduce taxes while ultimately passing ownership to family members. A charitable lead trust is an attractive gift option for a donor whose income exceeds his/her current needs.

Establishing a charitable lead trust is a very complicated process. You should seek expert advice to set up the most tax-friendly scenario.

  Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)

Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) are life income gifts that help donors meet special gift and estate planning objectives. The donor may establish income payments for the lifetime(s) of one or more beneficiary(ies) or for a term of 20 years or less. Upon the death of the last beneficiary, the assets remaining in the trust are transferred to the Medical College of Wisconsin for the purpose(s) specified by the donor.

There are two types of charitable remainder trusts:

  1. Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts (CRATs) pay a fixed income to the donor (and/or other beneficiaries) each year for life, or the term of the trust. Upon the death of the beneficiaries, the remainder is transferred to the Medical College of Wisconsin.

  2. Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (CRUTs) provide for income payments that vary with the investment success of the trust. Specifically, the unitrust directs that the trust assets be valued each year and that a specified percentage of the value be paid to the beneficiary(ies), as opposed to a specified amount. If the value of the trust assets increases, the annual payments increase. However, if the value of the trust decreases, the annual payments decrease. With the periodic valuing of the trust and accompanying payments, the Charitable Remainder Unitrust serves as a hedge against inflation. Another feature of the unitrust is that a donor may make additional contributions to the trust, whereas they are prohibited from doing so with an annuity trust.
  Gifts of Retirement Assets

Many donors are now using qualified retirement accounts, like IRA’s and 401k’s, in their charitable gift planning. The reason is that retirement account assets left to family members, other than a spouse, are subject to income taxes and possibly estate taxes as well. When retirement assets are used to fund a charitable gift, and other less tax-burdened assets are left to family members, the otherwise potentially highly taxed retirement assets pass tax free to charity.

In order to make a gift of retirement assets to the Medical College of Wisconsin, the donor need simply name the College as the beneficiary of the account(s). A gift of retirement assets is one of the easiest ways to make a lasting gift to the Medical College.

  IRA Charitable Rollover

In case you had not heard the news, at the end of 2015 Congress permanently extended IRA Charitable Rollovers (also knowns as Qualified Charitable Distributions or QCDs) as part of its end-of-year budget negotiations. This is great news, as the provision allows individuals aged 70½ and older the ability to make direct, tax-free gifts in amounts up to $100,000 from traditional and Roth IRAs to qualified public charities. Since this law no longer has an expiration date, you are free to make annual gifts to MCW from your IRA this year and well into the future.

Important details:

  • You are age 70½ or older at the time of the gift.
  • You transfer up to $100,000 directly from your IRA. This opportunity applies only to IRAs and not other types of retirement plans.
  • You transfer the funds outright to one or more qualified charities. The legislation does not permit direct transfers to charitable trusts, donor advised funds, charitable gift annuities or supporting organizations.


Q. I'm turning age 70½ in a few months. Can I make this gift now?

A. No. The law requires you to reach age 70½ by the date you make the gift.

Q. Does it matter which retirement account I use? I have several retirement accounts—some are pensions and some are IRAs.

A. Yes. Direct rollovers to a qualified charity can only be made from an IRA. Under certain circumstances, however, you may be able to roll assets from a pension, profit sharing, 401(k) or 403(b) plan into an IRA and then make the transfer from the IRA directly to MCW. To determine if a rollover to an IRA is available for your plan, speak with your retirement plan administrator.

Q. Can my gift be used to satisfy my required minimum distribution (RMD) under the law?

A. Yes. If you have not yet taken your required minimum distribution, the IRA charitable rollover gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement. Contact your IRA custodian to complete the gift.

Q. I've already named MCW as the beneficiary of my IRA. What are the advantages if I make a gift now instead of after my lifetime?

A. By making a gift this year of up to $100,000 from your IRA, you can see your charitable dollars at work now. You are building the legacy you would like to leave and giving yourself the joy of watching it take shape.

Q. What if I want to support more than one charity? Can I give $100,000 from my IRA to each?

A. No. Under the law, you can give a maximum of $100,000. For example, you can give each organization $50,000 this year or any other combination that totals $100,000 or less. Any amount of more than $100,000 in one year must be reported as taxable income.

Q. Do I need to give my entire IRA to be eligible for the tax benefits?

A. No. You can give any amount under this provision, as long as it is $100,000 or less this year. If your IRA is valued at more than $100,000, you can transfer a portion of it to fund a charitable gift.

Q. My spouse and I would like to give more than $100,000. How can we accomplish that?

A. If you have a spouse (as defined by the IRS) who is 70½ or older and has an IRA, he or she can also give up to $100,000 from his or her IRA.

This information is not intended to be legal advice, and individuals are strongly encouraged to consult their tax, legal, and financial advisors to determine whether or not a distribution from their IRA is the best course of action. Please feel free to contact Jennifer Mitchell, Director of Planned Giving, with any questions.; (414) 805-3308

  Retained Life Estate

A retained life estate enables a donor to give their personal residence to the Medical College while retaining full use and possession of the property for as long as the donor lives. The donor receives an immediate charitable income tax deduction equal to the remainder value of the property when it is deeded to the College. The donor also avoids any capital gains tax on the appreciation of the property, as well as lessening the potential estate tax burden upon the death of the donor. The donor remains responsible for all costs associated with maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc. during his/her lifetime.


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Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226-0509

(414) 955-4700
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Page Updated 06/19/2017