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Estate Planning for Kids

Creating a Safety Net for When You’re Not There to Protect Them

Becoming a parent means doing everything you can to love and protect another human being. It’s evident in all the research you did when you purchased your child’s first car seat, or the precautions you took the first time he or she went swimming or rode a bicycle.

The same level of care should be taken when making your estate plan. Putting your intentions on paper will help secure a safer future for your children when you aren’t there to protect them yourself. This plan should include provisions for:

Minor children. Use your will to name a guardian for any minor children. If you are married, your spouse will likely raise your children if you pass away first, but also take into consideration what could happen when he or she passes away. You may also wish to place the assets you want your children to inherit in a trust until they are older. This prevents court battles if a judge has to name someone as their conservator.

Assets and property. Spelling out the distribution of assets to your children will ensure they receive what was intended for them. Remember, assets aren’t only items with financial value. Sentimental items—like heirlooms and family photos—can be noted and passed to your children, as well.

An executor. If your children are of legal age, you can appoint them as executors, or choose a trusted friend or family member.

Beneficiary designations. Life insurance, annuities, retirement benefits and IRAs are usually payable to a named beneficiary and do not pass under your will. Review and update these documents—adding your children’s names or a trust for their benefit—to make certain assets are left to your intended heirs.

Child Free?

Estate planning is for everyone, regardless of your marital status, income or age. If you don’t have children to plan for in your estate, consider the following questions: 

  1. How would you like your assets distributed?
  2. Who will make health and financial decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able?
  3. Who will care for you in the event of illness or disability?
  4. Are there charitable organizations you wish to support?

Make Your Plan Work for Bowdoin College, Too

When creating or updating your estate plan, consider including a gift to Bowdoin. We would be glad to work with you on solutions that meet your giving needs. Please contact Office of Gift Planning at 207-725-3172 or giftplanning@bowdoin.edu for more information on how you can get started.

eBrochure Request Form

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Bowdoin College a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Bowdoin College [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor-advised fund is a charitable account sponsored by a public charity that donors use to support their philanthropy.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

A lead trust holds appreciating assets for a term of years (or for your lifetime), and makes quarterly or annual payments to Bowdoin College. The College benefits from the stream of reliable, steady gifts from the lead trust, and you're able to witness the impact of your gifts during your lifetime. At the end of the trust's term, all remaining trust assets are distributed to your designated beneficiaries with greatly reduced (in some cases zeroing out) gift and estate tax, regardless of how much the trust has grown.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Bowdoin as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Bowdoin as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Bowdoin where you agree to make a gift to Bowdoin and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

With a retained life estate, the donor(s) irrevocably deeds a personal residence or farm to the College, but retains the right to live in it for the rest of his/her life, a term of years, or a combination of the two. The term is most commonly measured by the life of the donor or of the donor and the donor’s spouse.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.