Learn how Duke’s Trust and Estate Administration team helps donors make an impact at Duke
Q&A with Jane Heuser, associate director of trust and estate administration
1. What does Duke’s Trust and Estate Administration Department do?
We work with alumni and friends who have set up a life income gift, such as a charitable remainder unitrust or a charitable gift annuity with Duke University. The Trusts and Estates team is responsible for handling the day-to-day administration of these accounts. We also manage estates when a donor has passed away and has left a gift to Duke. These gifts may be from an estate, trust, life insurance policy, or even a retirement account. You can learn more about these different types of gifts by visiting our website.
2. What types of tasks does your team assist donors with?
We assist our donors in setting up a new gift annuity or charitable remainder unitrust. With a gift annuity or a charitable trust, a donor can take advantage of a charitable income tax deduction while receiving an income payment for themselves or a loved one. We work with donors in the transfer of assets, preparation of account agreements and designation of their gift(s). Once their gifts are up and running, we ensure that the donors are receiving their quarterly income payments, tax information, and account statements.
Regarding our estate gifts, the Trust and Estates team works with the donor’s family and financial advisor to ensure that their wishes are being met. We will complete any estate paperwork and will review the donor’s estate documentation to determine which area of Duke will benefit from the gift. Donors can support a wide variety of areas and programs at Duke, such as Duke Gardens, the Libraries, or the Mathematics Department.
3. What kind of trust and estate gifts can Duke receive?
Cash and stocks that have increased in value are the most common assets we receive. There can be tax advantages to donating appreciated assets instead of cash. Duke’s gift planning team will work with donors and their financial advisors regarding charitable gift options for gifts of stock, life insurance, or real estate.
4. How many charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts does Duke manage?
Duke University serves as trustee for about 155 charitable remainder trusts with a combined market value of about $52 million. The assets of the other gift arrangements offered by Duke, such as pooled income funds, charitable gift annuities, and charitable lead trusts, are valued at about $55 million and involve some 440 gifts. Duke has been managing all aspects of its various life income gifts since the first gift annuity was created in 1977.
When a donor sets up a gift annuity or charitable trust, the Trust and Estate Administration team of Duke University’s Office of Gift Planning is brought in to assist with their charitable goals. We work with the donor and even their family for many years, often developing a close working relationship with them. One of the most fulfilling parts about our work is connecting donors and their families back to the university in such a meaningful way.
Contact me or anyone on our team! You can also find out more information about Trust and Estate Administration on our website.