Estate Planning: Prepare Your Legacy

April 29, 2014


The College of Education continues to be recognized as one of the best in the nation, ranking #1 for 20 consecutive years in the areas of elementary and secondary education. A critical component in being recognized as a leader in education is the college’s outstanding faculty and student body and their innate ability to excel at teaching, research and learning. Indeed, private philanthropy plays a role in providing opportunities and funding that otherwise would not exist.

Many alumni and friends have chosen to support the college beyond their lifetime by including the college in their estate planning. We spend on average 40 years accumulating assets and possessions, but little time ensuring they will be properly distributed to the people and institutions we care about after our lifetime. Estate planning is perhaps the least understood aspect of philanthropy. No matter your net worth, it’s important to have a basic estate plan in place. Legacy gifts from an estate by way of will, trust or life income agreement allow donors the opportunity to make a significant impact for the college. Estate plans also ensure that your family needs, financial plans and institutional goals are met after your lifetime.

Documenting your gift

The document familiar to most people is a will, which determines what happens to your assets after your lifetime. A will provides in detail where you want your assets distributed. The first step in documenting a will is to take inventory of your assets. Your assets include your investments, retirement plans, and real estate or business interests.  

The next step is to decide who receives your assets and who you want handling your financial affairs. You can give individuals or institutions a percentage of your estate or you can specify a dollar amount. You can also assign specific assets to each entity.  

Documenting a future gift from an estate is not a binding legal obligation on the donor or their estate, and information is confidential. Documented planned gifts are important to the college and university, as they enable the college to recognize potential future donors today. It is also an important process for donors as they can establish guidelines, with the college’s Development Office, outlining their wishes for the use of their future gift—their legacy at Michigan State.  

The College of Education Development Office has the honor of connecting the passion of our alumni and friends to tangible projects and programs that improve the experience for our students. I hope for and look forward to the opportunity to help you make a connection between your passion and the College of Education.

How to give

To make a donation to a discretionary or endowed fund established within the College of Education, and to view a complete listing of funded endowments, visit

If you would like to explore establishing a new endowed fund or documented planned gift in support of College of Education students, faculty or programs, contact the Development Office at (517) 432-1983.