There are several ways to phrase a will provision for Davidson's future benefit so that it will 1) meet the requirements for a valid bequest, and 2) accurately reflect your wishes as to the college's ultimate use of your legacy. Three of these ways are described below:
Davidson can use "unrestricted bequests" to help meet the college's most urgent needs at the time the bequest is received. Bequests like this allow Davidson the greatest possible flexibility, and can be made with specific property, a sum or money, or as a percentage of your estate. While you should consult your attorney about the precise legal requirements necessary under your state's laws, here are some suggestions for language you and your attorney might include:
"I hereby give, devise, and bequeath to Davidson College, located in Davidson, North Carolina, (the sum of ___$) or (___ percent of my estate) or (specific items of property) or (the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate). This gift may be used to further the educational objectives of Davidson College in such a manner as the Trustees of the College may direct."
Designating a percentage of the residue of your estate (the part left over after specific bequests are made) has the benefit of allowing you to allocate appropriate fractions of your estate in advance, while allowing for changes in the overall size of your estate. This can help simplify your future planning by making it unnecessary to change your will if during your lifetime it becomes necessary to dispose of certain property specifically mentioned in your will.
If you have a special interest in supporting one element of the life of Davidson College, such as scholarships, the Library, or an academic department, you can modify the above language. As restricted bequests must be phrased more carefully to ensure that their purposes are achieved, it is important that you or your attorney consult the Planned Giving Office in advance to discuss the particular specification you have in mind. As the passage of time may cause some of the College's needs to change, we also recommend that any such restrictions be stated broadly, or as alternatives. To allow for changes that cannot be anticipated, it is usually wise to include language such as:
"If, in the opinion of the Trustees of Davidson College or their successors the need for funds for the purpose described no longer exists at some future date, the Trustees or their successors are authorized to use these funds in the best interest of the College."
Both unrestricted and restricted bequests can be designated to create permanent endowment funds, which produce income for Davidson to use in perpetuity. To accomplish this, the following language would be included after the description of the assets you intend to give:
"The property comprising this gift shall, for investment purposes, be merged with the general endowment funds of Davidson College, to be entered into the College's books and records as "The _____ Endowed Fund," and to be permanently known by that name. The principal of this Fund shall be retained, and the earnings from it used, in accordance with the College's policies for expenditure of endowment income, for the following purpose..."
Existing endowed funds at Davidson, such as scholarship funds, library book funds, and endowments for academic departments, can be added to with specific bequests, provided the fund to be augmented is specifically identified. If you would prefer your endowment bequest to go to a fund already in existence, or want to know if there is one, Davidson's Planned Giving staff will be happy to help you identify the appropriate fund and phrase the designation.
If you have questions about making a planned gift to Davidson College, please contact James Gibert '79 in the Office of Planned Giving at 704-894-2469.