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Charitable Bequest

A charitable bequest is one of the easiest and most flexible ways that you can leave a gift to James Madison University that will make a lasting impact. If you have been so generous as to include a bequest to the university as part of your estate plan, please take the time to let us know. We would like to recognize you and your family for your generosity. We also strive to ensure we understand your wishes and are able to honor your intent.

Flowchart: Donor leaves assets through will or trust to family and the James Madison University Foundation to advance the work of JMU.

Benefits of a bequest

  • Possibly receive an estate tax charitable deduction
  • Possibly reduce the burden of taxes on your family
  • Create your legacy at Madison, help an area you are passionate about, and know you will make a difference for future generations

How a bequest works

A bequest is one of the easiest gifts to make. With the help of an attorney, you can include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to family, friends and/or the James Madison University Foundation as part of your estate plan, or you can make a bequest using a beneficiary designation form. Please contact the Office of Planned Giving so we may thank you and ensure your wishes can be followed.

A bequest may take different forms

  • Percentage bequest - make a gift of a percentage of your estate
  • Specific bequest - make a gift of a specific dollar amount or a specific asset
  • Residual bequest - make a gift from the balance or residue of your estate
Click here to review sample bequest language.

Contact us

If you have any questions about leaving a bequest to us, please contact us. We would be happy to assist you.

Additional Information

The method used to make a bequest will depend on the kind of gift you choose to leave to James Madison University.

Bequests of real estate, personal property, business interests and cash are typically made by way of a will, revocable trust or even a simple codicil to your current estate plan. Your estate-planning attorney can assist you in preparing the necessary papers for you to complete the bequest.

Other gifts, such as those involving retirement assets, insurance policies, bank accounts and stocks and bonds, are typically made by completing the appropriate beneficiary designation form. Simply contact your retirement plan administrator, life insurance company, bank or investment broker and ask them to send you the appropriate "beneficiary designation" or "payable on death" form. To complete your bequest, you will need to complete and sign the form and then send it back to the person who originally sent the form to you. Please contact us with this information.

The last step in leaving any bequest involves the transfer to charity. When you pass away, the bequest property will be transferred to James Madison University. The full value of this gift will be transferred tax-free and your estate may receive an estate tax charitable deduction.

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