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No designation in will/trust

  • 1.  No designation in will/trust

    Posted 11-28-2022 09:45 AM
    Hi, all,

    We recently received a bequest from a donor with a trust that named us as one of five beneficiaries. The only information listed in the trust relevant to our share is the name and address of our organization - there is no mention of where the proceeds should be designated. This seems like it should be a straightforward application of our undesignated bequest policy, but one of our development officers has met with the donor in the past, and we have one contact report in our database that describe a more restricted intention for their estate gift - specifically to go to one of our schools.

    My question is: which of these things should supersede the other in determining the designation? It's great that our development officer added these details to their contact report, but the contact report was from 4 years ago, and the trust document is more recent than that. 


    Marie Loson
    Director of Advancement Services
    SUNY Potsdam

  • 2.  RE: No designation in will/trust

    Posted 11-28-2022 10:15 AM
    Marie, I urge the creation of a formal institutional policy on undesignated bequests.  The ones I typically write have realized bequests below a certain amount - like $10,000 - go to the annual fund.  Above that amount, they go to a quasi-endowment for strategic initiatives.

    But that does not help you now.  Have you spoken to the family of the deceased?  I would ask them for their advice.  Absent that, depending on the size of the gift, I would place it in the annual fund or a quasi-endowment unless the donor had a history of giving to only one or two funds.


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987