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Giving Options

Bequests and Estate Plan Gifts

A bequest is a gift from your estate—a transfer of cash, securities, or other property made through your estate plans. You can make a bequest to Stanford by including language in your will or living trust leaving a portion of your estate to the university, or by designating Stanford as a beneficiary of your retirement account or life insurance policy.

Remembering Stanford with a bequest from your estate will help sustain and strengthen the university in years to come. Some of the advantages of creating a bequest include:

  • A bequest costs nothing now, yet gives you the satisfaction of knowing you have provided for Stanford in the future
  • You retain control of and use of your assets during your lifetime
  • You may modify your bequest if your circumstances change
  • Gifts to Stanford from your estate are exempt from federal estate taxes
  • If you let Stanford know of your plans, we will be able to thank you now and recognize you as a member of our Founding Grant Society

Making a Bequest

A bequest to Stanford can be made for a specific amount, for a percentage of your estate, or for all or a portion of what is left after you have made bequests to your family. To make a gift to Stanford from your estate, you must sign a new will or living trust instrument, add a codicil to your present will, or make an amendment to your present trust instrument.

Alternatively, you can designate Stanford as a beneficiary of a retirement plan or life insurance policy. To do so, contact the retirement plan administrator or life insurance company and complete the appropriate beneficiary designation form. You can designate a specific purpose for such a gift with a separate letter prepared with assistance from the Office of Planned Giving.

To assist you in preparing your bequest, we have provided sample bequest language.

Planning Your Bequest

When planning for a bequest, you will need to consider how you would like your gift to be used to benefit Stanford—whether unrestricted in purpose or restricted to a specific school or purpose, and whether you would like it to be an expendable fund (to be spent when received) or an endowed fund (to last in perpetuity).

  • An unrestricted bequest allows the university to determine how to use the funds based on its most pressing needs. Unrestricted bequests are extremely valuable because the university can use them to flexibly meet its future needs.
  • A restricted bequest directs assets to a specific fund, school, or particular purpose, such as an undergraduate scholarship. The sample language below shows how to word gifts to be restricted to specific schools or for such purposes as undergraduate financial aid. A restricted bequest may be for an expendable or endowed fund. Because each restricted bequest is unique, Stanford encourages donors considering this type of gift to speak with a member of the Planned Giving staff about the appropriate language.
  • Expendable funds are used in their entirety, generally within a relatively short time frame. Some larger expendable gifts are used over longer periods.
  • Endowed funds provide income every year in perpetuity to carry out the designated purpose of the fund. Note that endowed funds have minimum required amounts. Please speak with a member of the Planned Giving staff if you are considering a bequest to establish an endowed fund.

Creating a Lasting Legacy

Endowed funds may be established by bequest for many purposes. Some possibilities include:

  • Professorships
  • Undergraduate scholarships
  • Graduate fellowships
  • Research and teaching in specific areas
  • Support of university programs, such as those in the arts, athletics, and medicine

A fund created by your bequest can carry your name of the name of a family member or other person you wish to honor. Named funds, because of the support they offer to programs and people, are a way to share what is meaningful to you within the university community well into the future. Note that minimum gift amounts required for creating named, endowed funds vary, so please contact the Office of Planned Giving for further information.

Let Us Thank You

If you have included Stanford in your estate plans, please let us know. We would like to thank you for your generosity, make sure the purpose of your gift is understood by the university, and recognize you as a member of the Founding Grant Society.

Contact Us

The Office of Planned Giving is happy to help you explore options for designating a bequest to Stanford. Please see our sample language.

Those considering a planned gift should consult their own legal and tax advisors. The staff in the Office of Planned Giving are happy to speak with advisors as well.

University Name and I.D. Number


Stanford University's federal tax I.D. number is 94-1156365.

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