Planning Your Gift
Estate Tax Law Reverts to 2001
Committee on Development Meeting
March 5, 2010
You should know that in 2009, 75 members of the Hamilton family responded either to the Will Survey I mentioned in October or checked planned giving boxes when making on-line Annual Fund contributions, resulting in 46 Will provisions and 29 requests for information.
Thinking of Wills, everyone should be sure that the one-year repeal of the federal estate tax, which became effective on January 1, 2010, does not short circuit your estate planning objectives. For example, please contact your attorney if your estate plan funds testamentary trusts with the amount exempted from estate tax or generation skipping transfer tax.
Congress could reinstate the estate tax retroactive to January 1, 2010; however, if it takes no action, the federal estate tax reverts to the rates (up to 55%) and exemption ($1 million) in effect as of December 31, 2001, which would be less advantageous than they were in 2009.
Once again, it occurred to me that as trustees, we should lead the way and strive for 100% participation, similar to our effort on behalf of the Annual Fund. Beyond estate plan provisions, you can qualify by naming Hamilton the beneficiary, or contingent beneficiary, of your retirement plan assets. As discussed at these meetings over the years, retirement plan assets pass tax free to Hamilton, while your non-spousal heirs may receive only $0.35 of each dollar left to them.
Of course, lifetime planned gifts – charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities, remainder interests in primary residences and charitable lead trusts – also count. The benefits of these gifts can be viewed by using the gift calculator on the planned giving web page.
As an added incentive, anyone who includes Hamilton in his or her plans becomes a Joel Bristol Associate. Some of you may recall that the Joel Bristol Associates were established by the trustees in 1996 following the death of Bill Bristol '17. I could not think of a better way to honor the memory of Mac Bristol '43, than to become a Joel Bristol Associate at this time. Arguably, no person provided as much visionary leadership, successful volunteer effort and generous financial support as Mac.