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Good Counsel

Giving from your retirement account or life insurance policy – an impactful way to support Stanford’s future

Julie Lanz

By Julie Lanz
Associate Director, Office of Planned Giving

Creating an estate plan can be an opportunity to think about the people and causes we care about the most. Taking care of our families and loved ones is usually the first priority. Providing support for a cause near and dear to our hearts can also be deeply meaningful.

When you include charitable giving in your estate plan, you are shaping your legacy. Whether your motivation is showing appreciation for an organization’s impact on your life, helping that organization tackle urgent issues in society, or setting an example for the next generation, a charitable gift is a way to make a difference far into the future.

While there are many ways to include Stanford in your estate plan, one way, which can be relatively simple, is making Stanford the beneficiary of a retirement account or life insurance policy. With Stanford’s legal name, tax ID, and address, you can contact the administrator of your plan or policy (usually by going online) and update your beneficiaries to include Stanford.

For Pastor Darrell Armstrong, whose story is featured in this issue, choosing to make Stanford the beneficiary of a life insurance policy was motivated by his belief in giving back—and paying forward to future undergraduate students at Stanford.

We encourage you to think about what legacy you would like to leave. If you would like to include Stanford as part of your legacy, you may wish to consider whether your gift will be unrestricted—allowing it to be used where it is needed most—or whether you wish to support a specific program or school. 

The staff in the Office of Planned Giving is here to help answer your questions. We can provide sample language to use in your will, trust, or beneficiary designation form as well as assist you in preparing a designation letter for your gift if you wish to direct your support to a specific program or area. If you would like to learn more about the tax benefits of making charitable gifts or more advanced charitable planning, we can help with that too. And if you have already included Stanford in your estate plan, we would love the opportunity to thank you and invite you to join the university’s Founding Grant Society.

Simple steps to make a big impact

To make Stanford part of your legacy, it is often best to include Stanford on the beneficiary designation form obtainable from your IRA plan administrator.

That form usually asks for the name of the beneficiary (The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University), the address (326 Galvez Street, Stanford, CA 94305), and a tax identification number (94-1156365).

Please contact the Office of Planned Giving if you want to support a specific purpose.