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Planned Gift FAQ's

What are Planned Gifts?

Many Siena College alumni, friends and donors choose to support the college’s work through planned gifts, which include gifts of marketable securities like stocks and bonds; estate gifts through a bequest in a will or trust; gifts like charitable gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts that provide a lifetime income stream to the donor; and other gifts of real estate or tax-deferred retirement assets.

Planned gifts provide financial flexibility and various tax benefits. Planned gifts also provide an effective means of financial stewardship, redirecting money to needs that would otherwise become lost to estate, capital gains or income taxes. Because a planned gift requires careful consideration of a donor's personal, financial and charitable goals and desires, we encourage you to consult with your financial, tax or legal adviser.

By making your planned gift at Siena College, you'll become a member of the prestigious St. Francis Society, which recognizes those individuals who have included the college in their long-term financial and estate planning. Click on any of the following links below to learn more about the various planned giving options available at Siena College:

Bequests from Wills

Charitable Gift Annuities

Life Insurance & Annuity Contracts

Charitable Remainder Trusts

Qualified Retirement Plans

Retained Life Estates

In addition to the information provided below, Siena’s planned giving staff is pleased to provide additional information or assistance. Please contact Jack Sise, Esq. '75, Director of Gift Planning at 518-783-2315.

The St. Francis Society

The St. Francis Society is a community of “Siena Saints” faithful who share the original dreams and vision of our founding Friars to create a perpetual learning community. The St. Francis Society consists of alumni, friends, faculty and staff who support the vision for Siena by including the college in their long-term financial and estate plans. Members of the St. Francis Society belong to a select group of individuals who have chosen to extend their legacies while furthering the work of Siena College. back to top

Bequests from Wills

A will is one of the easiest and most common forms of planned giving. As a legal document that specifies one's wishes concerning one's estate at death, a will provides detailed instructions for disposing of assets accumulated over a lifetime.

The will is one of the most popular means of making significant planned gifts to a beloved charity or cause. Many friends and alumni of Siena College have chosen to name the college as the recipient of a specific amount or percentage of their estates.

If you would like to discuss your will, or if you have any questions about the importance of having a will, contact Jack Sise, Esq. '75, Director of Gift Planning at 518-783-2315 back to top

 Charitable Gift Annuities

The charitable gift annuity has become an increasingly popular way of providing predictable income in the later years while avoiding the volatility of the financial markets. A charitable gift annuity is a contract between the donor and Siena College whereby the college guarantees to pay the donor, the donor and their spouse, or another beneficiary, an annual set sum for life. The payments remain the same over the lifetimes of the income beneficiaries, and often a portion of the income received is tax exempt.

A charitable gift annuity is especially attractive if a donor holds highly appreciated assets, like real estate or securities, which can be given directly to Siena College in exchange for an annuity. Donors also receive a tax deduction in the year the gift is made for the portion of the gift that might be expected to ultimately benefit the university.

The minimum gift to establish a charitable annuity at Siena College is $10,000. You may request more information by contacting Jack Sise, Esq. '75, Director of Gift Planning at 518-783-2315. back to top

Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust gift is an irrevocable gift that can provide significant future support to Siena College while potentially increasing the income of the beneficiary or beneficiaries. Beneficiary payments are either made throughout a beneficiary's lifetime or for a specific term of years (20 is the maximum allowed by law). The donor directs how the named charity will use the ultimate proceeds. There are two types of charitable remainder trust gifts: a charitable remainder unitrust or a charitable remainder annuity trust.

If your goal is to provide yourself, your spouse or other beneficiaries with an income stream that provides a hedge against inflation, you should consider a charitable remainder unitrust. The unitrust allows you to add to the trust principal at any time and pays annual income based on a fixed percentage (at least 5 percent) of the market value of the trust assets. As the value of the trust increases, you share in that appreciation by receiving a larger income distribution. By avoiding capital gains tax on the trust transfer, the entire value of the gift can be reinvested to benefit the named life beneficiary. The trust assets will not be taxable in the donor's estate as long as the beneficiaries are limited to the donor and/or their spouse.

If you would prefer to receive constant payments from your life income gift, you might consider a charitable remainder annuity trust. Like a charitable remainder unitrust, the annuity trust provides the donor with capital gains tax avoidance, immediate income tax deduction and the ability to designate how the funds will ultimately be used by the college. However, unlike the unitrust, the payment from an annuity trust is based on a percentage of the market value of the trust assets at the time it is funded, and the payment amount never changes. Additional contributions to an annuity trust are not permissible, and upon death, the principal is distributed to the college.

For more information or to determine which charitable remainder trust option works best for your financial goals, contact Jack Sise, Esq. '75, Director of Gift Planning at 518-783-2315. back to top 

Qualified Retirement Plans

People often reach retirement age with significant wealth accumulation in retirement plan accounts. Unfortunately, assets in these types of plans are included in the owner's taxable estate at death and can be subject to as much as 70 percent in combined estate and income taxes.

Rather than see such a large percentage of your remaining retirement assets eaten up by taxes, you might consider directing a portion or all of your retirement assets to be used to make charitable gifts. While the value of these accounts is still included in your taxable estate, your estate will receive a full charitable deduction for all gifts designated to charity. A more satisfying strategy may be to name Siena College as the beneficiary of your retirement account and leave other assets to heirs. The college will owe no taxes on the account and will be afforded the full amount of the gift.

May we explore with you the various options available with qualified retirement plans? Contact Jack Sise, Esq. '75, Director of Gift Planning at 518-783-2315. back to top

Retained Life Estates

A "retained life estate" is an arrangement by which the owner of a residence, vacation home or other property donates the real estate to a favorite cause while simultaneously residing in and maintaining control of the property. Such gifts allow significant income tax deductions in the year the gift is completed. Upon the death of the donor, the college takes possession of the real estate and liquidates it, using the assets to continue its educational mission.

For additional information on making a gift of a retained life estate, please contact Jack Sise, Esq. '75, Director of Gift Planning at 518-783-2315. back to top