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Passing on Their Values: How a Couple Helped FSU and Received Security in Return

Howard and Cheryl Beckert

Howard and Cheryl Beckert

Howard M. '71, '72, and Cheryl S. Beckert '72, have always appreciated how their Florida State University degrees helped their careers.

"The education and relationships we were blessed with at Florida State University have been very instrumental to the successes we have had in life," Cheryl says.

Howard, who earned a bachelor's and master's degree in accounting from the College of Business, and Cheryl, who earned a bachelor's degree in human sciences, have worked in the personal finance field for most of their careers.

Howard, a certified public accountant as well as a certified financial planner, and Cheryl, a State Farm insurance agent and a chartered financial consultant, have vast knowledge of financial planning and charitable giving techniques and frequently work with clients who have charitable intentions.

A Win-Win Donation

The couple understands the benefits of a flexible deferred gift annuity for Florida State University and themselves. The flexible deferred gift annuity maximized their charitable deduction, created a safety net of fixed payments for the couple in the future and ultimately will provide needed resources to FSU.

"It was a win-win for us and the University," Howard says.

By setting up a flexible deferred gift annuity through the Florida State University Foundation, the Beckerts made a generous contribution to the FSU Foundation and received an immediate charitable deduction for the gift. In the future, the couple will be eligible to receive fixed payments from the Foundation, or they can continue to defer payments to receive a larger fixed payment stream later in life.

"With the uncertainty in our economy and the resultant volatility in our investments, being able to diversify our investments while utilizing the professional investment management of the Foundation was a positive factor in our decision," Howard says.

Preserving the "Wow" Factor

In order to attract and retain the best professors, their gift will benefit the accounting department at the College of Business.

"Those professors who have a ‘wow' factor— the ones we remember later for the impact they had in our lives—they are the ones we want to remain in Tallahassee," Cheryl says.

For others who are considering planned gifts to FSU, the Beckerts have some sage advice: "The Foundation representatives were some of the best we have ever worked with as to gifting alternatives," Howard says. "Make the initial contact and establish a relationship to learn more about what is available to meet your giving desires. You will find it is a very rewarding experience as your plans come to fruition."


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Florida State University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Florida State University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Tallahassee, Florida, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to the FSU Foundation or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the FSU Foundation as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to the FSU Foundation as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and the FSU Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the FSU Foundation and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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