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College Sweethearts Find a Tax-Wise Way to Support BSU


Lolita and Mearl Guthrie met at Ball State in 1943.

By Brittney Williams, Communications Intern

Mearl and Lolita Guthrie wanted to leave their legacy at Ball State University. At the same time, they wished to hold onto important assets that they would need during their golden years.

By naming the Ball State University Foundation as a beneficiary of their retirement plan assets, they were able to leave a legacy while receiving income from their nest egg. Plus, their gift will protect their heirs from income taxes and potential estate taxes.

This legacy gift lets them leave their mark in a big way! The ultimate proceeds from their retirement plan will provide additional funds to the Mearl and Lolita Guthrie Scholarship in Consumer Issues, awarded annually to a student interested in consumer education in the Miller College of Business.

"We never know how much of our retirement plan we will need in the years ahead," Lolita says. "This is why we are so grateful to be able to give back any amount we do not use in our retirement account to Ball State and our scholarship."

Using Their Time, Talent, and Treasure

The Guthries met at Ball State in 1943 and have lived by a motto that has taken them through 66 years of marriage, rewarding careers, parenthood, and service to their community: "Two of the greatest gifts are life and time. There are 168 hours in a week and we all have the same amount of time. It all depends on how we use it."

After she graduated with her degree in elementary education from Ball State, Lolita (BS '47) taught eight years, serving in public schools in Muncie; Minneapolis; Cincinnati; and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. She then became a stay-at-home mother for their children Scott and Carla. In 1978, she began doing research in genealogy and family history. She was honored to receive the Ruth C. Bishop Family History Living Volunteer Hall of Honor Award from the Ohio Genealogical Society in 2006 for many years of excellence in research and cemetery preservation.

Mearl completed his BS ('48) and MAE ('49) degrees in business education at Ball State and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He taught business education at Bowling Green State University for 36 years, serving as department chair from 1957 to 1985 during a period of tremendous growth. He also helped develop the Business Administration Department for the College of the Virgin Islands.

Mearl has lectured on numerous college campuses and has been a featured speaker at management seminars for various companies and organizations. After retirement, he took an active role in Boy Scouts, National Association of Investment Clubs, The Nature Conservancy, Lions Club, as well as local environmental and natural area organizations.

Recognized in Who's Who in America, Mearl says he was mentored by many professors and administrators while attending Ball State, including former presidents John R. Emens and Robert P. Bell. These relationships greatly influenced the Guthries' decision to give back to Ball State. "They helped me see how important education is," says Mearl, who was the first graduate assistant in Ball State's Consumer Education Department. "We want to pass on to others for what these fine people did for us."

No Thank You Goes Unnoticed

Seeing students' appreciation for their scholarship and learning about their experiences at Ball State only enhances the Guthries' experience of giving back. "Receiving photos and thank you letters from our scholarship recipients is so important to us and very appreciated," Mearl says. "We are pleased that we can help future students and are touched that they take the time to show their appreciation to us."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Ball State University Foundation 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 give to Ball State University Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 2800 W. Bethel Avenue, Muncie, IN 47304, or its successor thereto, ______________* [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 an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the foundation or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

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.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 the foundation as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 the foundation 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 the foundation where you agree to make a gift to the foundation 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.

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