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Estate Planning

When you make a gift to Western Carolina University through your will, trust or retirement plan, you're helping support future Catamounts for years to come. Estate gifts offer creative, flexible strategies for your estate and charitable planning. Some even provide you with income. Many can reduce your taxes.

If you would like to extend your support of Western Carolina University to make a lasting impact, there are several gift arrangements to choose from.

Gift Planning Options

Giving to Western Carolina University can be done either directly or through a gift model that can provide tax benefits and even income. Click on a giving option below to learn more. For more information on planned giving, please visit our Gift Planning website. 

A beneficiary designation gift is a simple and affordable way to make a gift to support Western Carolina University. You can designate us as a beneficiary of a retirement, investment or bank account or your life insurance policy. Through this gift method, you can not only support an area of WCU that you care about, but also continue to use the account as long as you need to and receive an estate tax charitable deduction to reduce the burden of taxes on your family.

To make your gift, contact your broker, banker or insurance agent and ask them to send you a new beneficiary designation form. Complete the form and mail it back to your broker, banker or agent. When you pass away, your account or insurance policy will be paid or transferred to WCU, consistent with the beneficiary designation.

If you are interested in making a gift, but are also concerned about your future needs, keep in mind that beneficiary designation gifts are among the most flexible of all charitable gifts. Even after you complete the beneficiary designation form, you can take distributions or withdrawals from your retirement, investment or bank account and continue to freely use your account. You can also change your mind at any time, including if you have a loved one who needs your financial help.

Types of Bequests

There are a number of ways you can make a bequest to Western Carolina University. You can leave what is called a specific bequest. A specific bequest involves making a gift of a specific asset such as real estate, a car, other property or a gift for a specific dollar amount. For example, you may wish to leave your home or $10,000 to Western Carolina University. Another kind of specific bequest involves leaving a specific percentage of your overall estate to charity. For example, you may wish to leave 10% of your estate to Western Carolina University.

Another kind of bequest is called a residual bequest. A residual bequest is a bequest that is made from the balance of an estate after the will or trust has given away each of the specific bequests. A common residual bequest involves leaving of a percentage of the residue of the estate to charity. For example, you may wish to leave 30% of the residue of your estate to Western Carolina University.

Bequest Benefits

There are no limitations on bequest gifts. Bequests may be made for a general or specific purpose. All bequests are exempt from federal estate taxes. If you have a taxable estate, the estate tax charitable deduction may offset or eliminate estate taxes resulting in a larger inheritance for your heirs. F


Western Carolina University Foundation has partnered with FreeWill, an online tool that guides you through the process of creating a legally valid will. It’s easy to use, free of charge, and can be completed in 20 minutes or less. You can use this tool to support the future of the University and establish a legacy of excellence for years to come.

Get started on your plans today.

2. Restricted Bequest: If you are considering a bequest but would like to ensure that your bequest will be used only for a specific purpose, please let us know. We would be happy to work with you and your attorney to help you identify ways to give that will ensure your charitable objectives can be met. We will also work with you and your attorney to craft language to accomplish your objectives.

If you are making a restricted bequest, we recommend that your attorney include the following provision to give Western Carolina University flexibility should it no longer be possible for our Western Carolina University to use your gift as you originally intended:

If, in the judgment of the Board of Directors of Western Carolina University, it shall become impossible for Western Carolina University to use this bequest to accomplish the specific purposes of this bequest, Western Carolina University may use the income and principal of this gift for such purpose or purposes as the Board determines is most closely related to the restricted purpose of my bequest.


The IRA Charitable Rollover provision allows individuals who have reached age 70½ to donate up to $100,000 to charitable organizations directly from their Individual Retirement Account (IRA), without treating the distribution as taxable income.

The provision mandates the following:

Eligibility Age. Taxpayers age 70½ or older are required to make annual distributions from their IRAs, which are then included in their adjusted gross income (AGI) and subject to taxes. The IRA Charitable Rollover permits those taxpayers to make donations directly to charitable organizations from their IRAs without counting them as part of their AGI and, consequently, without paying taxes on them.

Directly to the Charity. Distributions must be made directly from the IRA trustee payable to the public charity.

Limit on amount. Holders of traditional and Roth IRAs who are 70½ or older can make direct charitable transfers of up to $100,000 per year. A single person can transfer $100,000 tax-free; a married couple can transfer up to $200,000 tax-free from separate accounts.

Eligible Retirement Accounts. Distributions can only be made from traditional Individual Retirement Accounts or Roth IRAs. Charitable donations from 403(b) plans, 401(k) plans, pension plans and other retirement plans are ineligible for the tax-free treatment.

No Gifts in Return. Donors cannot receive any goods or services in return for charitable IRA rollover contributions in order to qualify for tax-free treatment.

For more information, please view our Frequently Asked Questions.

IRA Charitable Rollover.

You can use our online tool to make your tax-free donation online, print out the forms you need to complete the gift offline, or learn more about the benefits of giving from your IRA.

Learn more about IRA donations today!

There are many combination gift options that can make your giving go farther than a simple gift of property or cash. Blended gifts help you see the impact of your giving today and continue to support our mission in the future.

Make Your Annual Gifts Go Further

Are you already making annual gifts to support WCU? A planned gift can be added to your annual gifts of cash or property this year to increase the impact of your giving, provide greater tax savings, preserve wealth for you and your family and further our mission. 

Enjoy the Benefits of Giving Today

Have you already included a bequest in your will or created another planned gift? You could begin to see the impact of your giving today by making outright gifts of cash or property. Avoid capital gains tax by making a gift of your real estate, stock or other appreciate investments.

Blended gifts enable you to help us in more ways than you might believe possible. Contact us to learn more of the benefits of adding a planned or outright gift to your giving this year.

Contact our office to learn more about giving options that could provide you with income or the ability to pass on assets to your family while reducing or eliminating estate taxes. 


Let us assist with your plan

We recognize that each of our supporter’ goals is unique, and we welcome the opportunity to assist you or your professional advisor in ways to include your philanthropic objectives into a well-crafted estate plan.

We can provide:

  • Suggested bequest language.
  • Language for named endowed funds.
  • Beneficiary designations.

Helpful Information

Legal Name

All planned gifts should be directed to the Western Carolina University Foundation.

WCU Foundation Address

Western Carolina University Foundation address is One University Drive, 201 H.F. Robinson Administration Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723.

Tax ID Number

Western Carolina University’s Tax ID number is 23-7159170

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