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Sisters Use Inheritance to Help Single Parents


Karen Miller can vouch for her mother's belief in the value of education.

When Carolyn Jean Miller died at 60, her daughters Karen and Lisa Miller thought there was no better way to honor their mother than to establish a scholarship to encourage others to learn.

"Both my sister and I had gone to college, and we had earned our master's degrees," Karen says. "We thought this was a great way to honor her."

Carolyn was a Muncie, Ind., native and nurse. The scholarship honors her love of learning and supports nontraditional students, with a preference for single parents, just as Carolyn was when she attended Ball State University.

Designing a Healthy Endowment

"We decided that's what we wanted to do with the money we inherited from our mother," Karen says. "We wanted it to be a permanent endowment so we donated enough into the initial fund to make that happen."

"We felt that nontraditional students may have a harder time getting scholarships. Plus, if they were trying to work and raise a family while going to school, the money would help," she says.

"We were grateful that our mother had a nursing degree and profession to fall back on. She was a good nurse and well-respected by others. A lot of people who would normally give to my mother at birthdays or anniversaries now contribute to the scholarship instead."

Much to their delight, Carolyn Jean Miller's legacy has been passed on, not just in terms of education and accomplishment, but also in strength of character.

"She'd be pleased with the recipients of the award," Karen says. "We hope that the recipients are always those with values, work ethic, and an appreciation of the importance of family. Mom would be happy."

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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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