Leave a Legacy


Retained Life Estates

Your home is one of your most valuable assets. With a retained life estate, you can give your home to us now, but continue to live in it for as long as you wish.

Make a greater gift than you might have thought possible and receive immediate tax benefits without changing your living situation.

retained life estate may be right for you if:

  • You want to continue to live in your home.
  • You do not plan to pass on your home to family or other heirs.
  • You itemize your income tax deductions and want to save on income taxes now.
  • You want to make a significant gift to LeTourneau University.
 

Show More Details

Hide Details

A retained life estate is an irrevocable arrangement between you and The LeTourneau University Foundation. You deed your home to us in exchange for an agreement that gives you the right to live in your home for as long as you choose, even for the rest of your life. When your retained life estate arrangement ends, your home becomes our property to use or sell. Typically, we will sell your home and use the proceeds.

Irrevocable gift 
A retained life estate is an irrevocable arrangement. Once you deed your home to The LeTourneau University Foundation, you cannot change your mind and get your ownership back. This requirement assures that the value of your home will go to support LeTourneau University.

Give your home, second home, or farm
Most donors create retained life estate arrangements using their home. It is also possible to create a retained life estate with a second home or any other structure that functions as your residence, such as a boat. You may also create a retained life estate with a farm, including raw farm land.

Your responsibilities
You will be responsible for all regular expenses on your property while you live in it. These expenses include routine maintenance, property taxes, utility bills, and insurance.

Tax benefits
You will receive an income tax charitable deduction in the year of your gift. The amount of the deduction will depend on the value of your home and how long your plan will last. If you itemize instead of taking the standard deduction you could save significant income taxes. If you cannot use your entire deduction in the year of your gift, you may carry forward all unused deduction for up to five additional years if you are eligible to itemize in each of those years.

By removing your home from your estate, you may also reduce estate taxes and probate costs when your estate is settled if your estate exceeds the then applicable estate tax credit.

How long can my plan last?
You most likely will want to retain the right to live in your home for the rest of your life, or for the lives of you and your spouse. Other possible terms include more than two lives, a specific number of years, or a combination of lives and years.

Ending your plan early
If you decide you no longer want to live in your home for any reason, you can end your retained life estate early either by giving your remaining interest to The LeTourneau University Foundation or by selling your property in cooperation with us.

Special considerations
Giving your home to our organization requires some extra steps of which you should be aware. These steps include the following:

  • You will need to establish the value of your property by obtaining a qualified appraisal. 
  • We will need to examine your property and conduct our own analysis of its value. For example, we will want to know if there are any debts, taxes, or liens owed on your property.
  • Once we accept your gift of real estate, we could become responsible for cleaning up any environmental problems your property may have. This sort of cleanup could be very expensive. Therefore, before we accept any gift of real estate, we routinely conduct a review to make sure the property has no environmental issues.

Example

Henry and Joan Henderson, ages 78 and 77, still live in the house in which they raised their three children. Henry and Joan are in good health and have no plans to move. Their house has appreciated greatly over the years and is now worth about $600,000. Their children are grown with homes of their own and have no interest in keeping the house in the family.

Henry and Joan would like to make a large gift to The LeTourneau University Foundation, but they don’t feel comfortable giving a significant portion of their investment assets away. They are excited to learn that they can give their house instead while continuing to live in it for as long as they wish. Their lifestyle won’t change at all as a result of their arrangement. They also are attracted by the income tax charitable deduction of about $494,843* that they can use immediately to reduce their income taxes if they itemize their income tax deductions.

Benefits

  • Henry and Joan can continue to live in their home for the rest of their lives.
  • They receive an immediate income tax charitable deduction of about $494,843*.
  • They may deduct up to 30% of their adjusted gross income in the year of the gift. If they cannot use their entire deduction in the year of their gift, they may carry forward the balance for up to five additional years.
  • They will provide major support to LeTourneau University, currently worth $600,000.
  • Their home is no longer in their estate, potentially saving estate taxes.

*Henry and Joan’s income tax charitable deduction may vary depending on the timing of their gift. Their ability to benefit from an income tax charitable deduction will depend on their ability to itemize their income tax charitable deductions.

“Estate and Legacy Planning” – Does it Really Matter?

Think about this: early in the life of Israel we see the Lord repeatedly reminding them about the importance of passing on to “their children and their children’s children” God’s testimony of faithfulness (Deuteronomy 4:9 and following).  God went on to tell the children of Israel that He wasn't’t talking directly with their children, but rather with them – because “their eyes had seen” all that the Lord had done (Deuteronomy 11:2-7). 

Estate planning, when done with intentionality and by including a narrative of one’s life, can be an incredible means of motivating future generations.  Further empowering such planning with tax wise strategies that endow heirs as well as those ministries that have had an impact upon you and your family assures there is a means by which that consistent behavior is facilitated!

Watch for our next installment where we will purpose to unpack …

  • what estate and legacy planning is
  • why it’s important
  • what it looks like

and most importantly,

  • how it can be a compelling motivation for succeeding generations when it is empowered with an integrated level of charitable gift planning

As always, if we can be of service to you in this area, or for any questions you may have, please do not hesitate to email us at leavealegacy@letufoundation.org or call us toll-free at 903-500-2972 and ask for Tom Bevan.

And always a proper disclaimer: When considering what we might point to by way of a benefit to you in any given situation, always assure to consult your legal and tax advisor for what qualifies as the actual tax treatment of that scenario in your unique situation.

Scholarships play a major role in the lives of LETU students. More than 90% of the student body receives financial assistance from scholarships, grants, and loans. But with graduating seniors incurring significant financial debt, it is our goal to lessen the burden and increase our scholarship aid. Endowed scholarships play a vital role in decreasing the debt burden on students.

Why do LETU alumni and friends choose to establish Endowed Scholarship Funds?

  • To perpetuate the memory or legacy of a loved one;
  • To honor positive role models who have significantly influenced others;
  • To invest in today's students who will influence every workplace and every nation for Christ tomorrow.

Endowed Scholarships provide significant impact:

  • Equip leaders for tomorrow today;
  • Recruit and retain outstanding students seeking the hands-on, Christ-centered education that has for decades been the strength of LETU;
  • Recognize and reward outstanding performance by students with demonstrated financial need.

Endowed professorships, chairs, programs and schools are also available. Call 903.233.3833 to establish your endowment today.

Many companies will match their employees' charitable gifts. Some will even match the donations of retirees or employees' spouses! You can make your money double or even triple and at the same time invest in students' lives.

If your company is eligible, request a matching gift form from your employer's Human Resources department. Complete, sign and send in the completed form with your gift- every time you give a gift! Inform your employer of your donation and give them LeTourneau University's mailing address (2100 S. Mobberly Ave. Longview, TX 75607) so they can make the match. We will do the rest.

Giving a cash gift isn't the only way you can support LeTourneau University students. All you have to do is sign up for all the programs below and then let your shopping do the donating. It's that easy! Your normal, everyday shopping will help the LETU Annual Fund provide scholarship aid to deserving students. Thank you!

Give by Shopping

You're going to buy things anyway, right? Here are some ways your purchase can benefit LeTourneau University.

Amazon Smile
Start your shopping at smile.amazon.com, choose LeTourneau University as your selected organization, and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases.

Kroger
If you are a KrogerPlus member, Kroger's Community Rewards program donates a portion of your eligible purchases to the organization of your choice. Choose LETU! Visit https://www.kroger.com/topic/kroger-community-rewards-3 to enroll with your membership card and choose LeTourneau University (NPO# 84780). Don't forget to re-enroll each year to continue in the Community Rewards program.

Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb's Good Neighbor Program allows customers to direct donation dollars to a favorite church, school or other non-profit organization. Visit the courtesy booth at your local store to link your reward card to our account (use our Charity# 9090).

Give by Donating Goods (Gifts-in-Kind)

CONTACT:

Breaking News: New legislation has passed that can grant continued tax incentives for giving in 2021.
Click here for info.  

800.259.LETU [Toll-Free]

903.233.3801 [Fax]

Email
leavealegacy@letufoundation.org

Mailing Address
Office of Development
LeTourneau University
P.O. Box 7333
Longview, Texas 75607-7333