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Good Counsel

Building your legacy through meaningful choices

Blake Grossman

By Blake Grossman, Senior Associate Director 

When you think of building your legacy, what comes to mind? Are there long-term impacts you would like to make in your community and beyond—and who would you like to see benefit from that impact?

Creating an estate plan allows you to think about what matters most to you. It’s an opportunity to reflect on the values and causes that resonate with you and consider the ways you can impart a positive future for those individuals and organizations you care about.

The feature story in the Fall ’23 issue of Remember Stanford shares the steps that Marie, ’78, and Alex Shipman took in their estate planning journey, including their ultimate decision to invest in Stanford’s Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute and Stanford Athletics. Their story illustrates the power of thoughtful planning. By choosing to support what matters to them, they are investing in the future.

Making a bequest or estate plan gift

Shaping your legacy can take many forms, and perhaps one of the simplest is to make a gift to Stanford from your estate—otherwise known as a bequest. It does not require a gift now and enables you to contribute to Stanford’s excellence far into the future. There are many ways to make a bequest:

  • You can leave a gift to Stanford through your revocable living trust, name Stanford as a beneficiary of your will, retirement plan, or life insurance policy; or create a life income gift, such as a charitable remainder trust.

  • Your bequest can create an expendable fund, where the full amount of your gift may be spent over time.

  • You can choose to establish an endowed fund if your bequest gift meets the funding threshold at the time it is received. Endowed funds are invested for the long term and only a small percentage of the fund, currently about 5%, is spent annually to support a designated purpose determined by the donor.

Donors who include Stanford in their estate plans will also receive an invitation to join Stanford’s Founding Grant Society, a legacy society that honors those who have provided for a future gift for Stanford.

My colleagues and I are happy to work with you and your advisors to help you consider which type of gift is right for you. If you wish to support a specific program or school, or to make an unrestricted gift to Stanford, we can also provide tailored language for you to share with your advisors. To learn more, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at (650) 725-4358.