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Westcott Legacy Society

Westcott 1History of the James D. Westcott Legacy Society

The Florida State University created the James D. Westcott Legacy Society in honor and memory of James D. Westcott, whose 1887 estate gift funded The Florida State University's first major endowment.

Upon his death, Judge Westcott bequeathed the bulk of his estate—valued at approximately $100,000 in 1936—in trust for the benefit of the West Florida Seminary. With this legacy, Westcott became the first donor and benefactor of the institution now known as The Florida State University. In 1911, Florida State President Edward Conradi announced the campus Administration Building would be called the "James D. Westcott Jr. Memorial Building."

Members of the James D. Westcott Legacy Society have designated The Florida State University as a beneficiary in their estate plans. The Westcott Legacy Society is a tribute to the visionary James D. Westcott and to all generations of FSU benefactors who embrace his vision and share his high ideals.


As a Westcott Legacy Society member, you will be invited to our yearly celebration involving distinguished speakers, music and cultural displays. Members will also receive invitations to complimentary informational seminars on estate and financial planning, and other special events for donors to Florida State University. In addition, you will be recognized for your philanthropic investment in Florida State's students, faculty members and programs through our online honor roll of donors, serving as an inspiration to others.

Westcott 2You are a Part of the Legacy

As a member of the Westcott Legacy Society, you have joined a special group of alumni and friends. Whether it was through a charitable bequest, gift annuity, insurance policy or some other form of planned gift, members of the Westcott Legacy Society have created a lasting legacy of support for students, faculty, research and programs. Your planned gift creates tremendous opportunities and allows Florida State to transform lives—at the university and beyond.

Donor Honor Rolls »

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.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

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eBrochure Request Form

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