The following is from the July 2007, edition of Kiplinger's Retirement Report. Marianne Piepenburg, assistant vice-president for planned and endowment giving at SMU was a source for this story.
By Kathryn A. Walson
You've just received another fund-raising letter from your alma mater. Usually you write a check, but there's a good chance your college is proposing something called a "retained life estate." So what is that, and is it worth pursuing?
With a retained life estate, you give your house, vacation home or farm to a college. You get an income-tax deduction the same year, and you and your spouse can live in the residence until you both die. At that point, the university assumes control...
Despite the advantages, keep in mind that a retained life estate is irrevocable. You can't change your mind and leave the house to the kids. "It is not something that you would enter into lightly," says Marianne Piepenburg, assistant vice-president for planned and endowment giving at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas.
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