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Bequest
(Complete gift description)

Every year the Law School Foundation is grateful to receive bequests from the estates of our alumni and friends. These gifts make a tremendous difference to the Law Schoolís academic mission, and our future depends on them.

If you want to help build the Law Schoolís long-term financial strength but you arenít comfortable making a significant gift today, consider a charitable bequest under your will or revocable trust.

Why choose a bequest

How do I structure a bequest?

You may choose one of several ways to structure your bequest:

  1. You may bequeath a specific dollar amount to the Law School Foundation ("I bequeath the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars [$10,000]") if you want to ensure that a specific amount will be available for the Law School’s benefit.
  2. You may bequeath a percentage of the residue of your estate after taxes, expenses and other bequests have been paid ("I bequeath Ten Percent [10%] of the residue of my estate") if you want the Law School Foundation to receive an amount that will be determined only after all other bequests and expenses have been paid and the estate assets have been valued.
  3. You may bequeath specific property (“I give my home located at 123 Main Street, Charlottesville, Virginia”). Please consult with us if you plan to give specific property so that we can confirm our ability to accept it.

Are there limitations on how I can direct my bequest?

You can direct your bequest to any program or need at the Law School that meets your passion (for example, financial aid, faculty support, student intellectual life, public service loan forgiveness or curricular initiatives). Or, you can make your bequest unrestricted to allow the dean to meet the Law School's greatest needs at the time your bequest is realized.  We will be happy to talk with you about areas of support that will best fit your goals.

Sample bequest language

We will be pleased to provide your estate planning attorney with specifically-tailored bequest language to be included in your will or revocable trust. Click here to see general sample bequest language that you may provide to your attorney.

What is the difference between a will and a revocable trust?

A will is your instruction manual to survivors about how you want your property distributed at your death. It is a fully revocable, private document during your lifetime. At your death, it will become irrevocable and will be filed as a public record with the probate court in the county of your domicile. The probate court will help your executor distribute your assets to the beneficiaries you designate in your will.

A revocable trust is an entity that holds assets during your lifetime, then transfers ownership of them ó or benefit from them ó at your death. You typically serve as trustee of the trust during your lifetime, and you will appoint a successor trustee to serve after your death. As its name indicates, you may modify or revoke a revocable trust during your lifetime. At your death, the trust will become irrevocable, and your trustee will follow the trustís instructions in distributing the trust assets to your beneficiaries.

There is no appreciable difference between wills and trusts in how they make charitable transfers, and your estate will be eligible for an estate tax charitable deduction in both cases. In the case of probating a will, your executor will distribute your charitable bequest; for a revocable trust, your trustee will make the distribution. Your estate planning advisors can help you choose which vehicle will work better for you.

Planning points

  1. The more narrowly you restrict the use of your bequest, the greater the risk that the program you want to benefit today won't be as vital, as relevant, or as in need of funding when we receive your gift in the future. Please talk with us if you would like to restrict the use of your bequest.
  1. Similarly, please let us know in advance if you intend to bequeath real estate, a business interest, or other specialized property.
  1. The remaining balance in your retirement plan is a particularly tax-wise way to make a gift to the Law School Foundation, but don't direct it to us through your will or trust – that can create problems in your estate. Use your plan's successor beneficiary form instead.

What if I've already written my will or trust?

You can amend a will or trust to make a gift without rewriting the entire document. Your attorney can prepare a simple document, called a codicil to your will, that adds a new bequest to the Law School Foundation while reaffirming the other terms of your will. Similarly, your attorney can prepare a simple amendment to a revocable trust to add us as a beneficiary.

For more information

Email us, or call us at 877-307-0158 (toll free) or 434-924-4514 (direct) so that we may answer your questions and help you through the process.


The materials provided in this website and the examples contained herein are for illustration purposes only and are not intended as legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult your own legal and tax advisor.