Catherine Barrett is a planned giving officer with the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development.
Memorial was built as a legacy to a whole generation of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who lost their lives during the First World War. Catherine Barrett, planned giving officer with the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, is very aware of that history especially during the month of May, which is nationally recognized as Legacy Month.
Ms. Barrett’s job is to help people support the university through a variety of legacy gifts.
“Memorial has really benefited from legacy gifts,” she said. “Many of our scholarships and awards have been funded through estate gifts.
“Our libraries have received many in-kind bequests such as historical documents and rare books.”
She said it is a misconception that you have to be wealthy to leave behind a meaningful legacy.
“People are often surprised to learn that for as little as $25,000 you can set up a permanently endowed scholarship fund,” she said. “These scholarships continue forever, and helping future students is a wonderful way to be remembered.”
Memorial receives most of its legacy gifts through personal wills, but there are many other ways to give. They include gifts of life insurance as well as gifts of securities. All of those gifts can be set up in various ways that may have different tax benefits for the donor, which is why Ms. Barrett recommends that potential donors carefully discuss their options with a qualified financial advisor before making a gift.
Derrick Hutchens, principal with the Noseworthy Chapman Chartered Accountants, agrees and stresses the importance of planning when it comes to personal finances.
“I think people should start putting together a will very early in life. Not that it’s going to be cast in stone – of course there are going to be changes. The will is something you should sit down and review on an annual basis,” he said.
Mr. Hutchens explained that a will gives a significant amount of control over personal assets assuring that they are distributed according to personal preferences.
“In the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, if there is no will, different rules are involved. Basically, what happens then is half the estate would go to a spouse, if there is a spouse, and the other half would go to the children to be divided equally. If there is no spouse and no children, the estate would go to the next level of family beneficiaries,” he said.
For those who decide to give to Memorial through a planned giving program, Ms. Barrett suggests that a call to the Office of the Alumni Affairs and Development is a step they should consider.
“We recommend that potential donors contact us to discuss how their gift can be used and how they want to have it recognized so when the gift is realized everything unfolds according to their wishes,” she said.
Ms. Barrett can be contacted, in confidence, through the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development at www.munalum.ca or toll free at 1-877-700-4081.