Making a Bequest of Planned Gift

Making a Bequest to the Vergennes Opera House

What is a Bequest?
A bequest is a financial term describing the provision of a gift through an individual’s will.  Bequests can be given to family members, other individuals or charitable causes.

Making a Simple Bequest to the Friends of the Vergennes Opera House
Here are some examples of uncomplicated language to provide for the Opera House through your will.  Your attorney can help when additional guidance is needed.

“I give, devise and bequeath to the Friends of Vergennes Opera House, a recognized IRS 501(c) (3) organization, Federal ID# 03-0341456,
a) The sum of $ __________________.” Or . . .
b) __________% of my estate.” Or . . .
c) __________shares of stock in _____________ Company.” Or . . .
d) My real property, parcel number #___________, located at _______________.”

Making a Residual Bequest

Making a Residual Bequest
“I give, devise and bequeath to the Friends of Vergennes Opera House, a recognized IRS 501(c) (3) organization, Federal ID# 03-0341456, (all or a percentage) of the residue of my estate.”

Naming Friends of the Vergennes Opera House as a Contingent Beneficiary
“In the event that (name of beneficiary) does not survive, I give devise and bequeath the deceased beneficiary’s gift to the Friends of Vergennes Opera House, a recognized IRS 501(c) (3) organization, Federal ID# 03-0341456.”

Naming Friends of Vergennes Opera House as a Beneficiary of a Retirement Fund, etc.
You can easily make a gift to be realized at the time of death by naming Friends of Vergennes Opera House as a charitable beneficiary of your assets—such as retirement accounts (IRA’s, etc.), life insurance policies or donor advised funds.  You can do so online or in writing with the entity that holds the asset you wish to designate.  This approach is entirely separate from your will.  It is simple and does not require an attorney. 

The 1897 Society
Named for the year in which the Vergennes Opera House was constructed, The 1897 Society was established to recognize and honor those individuals who have provided for Vergennes Opera House through planned gifts. Examples of planned gifts include charitable bequests through wills, trusts, etc., usually realized after a donor has passed. Membership in The 1897 Society is extended to those who have notified the FVOH of their intent and have arranged for a planned gift through their estate planning, and those from whom a planned gift has been received.

It is the members of The 1897 Society who will make the greatest contribution to the enduring life of the Vergennes Opera House. Through their selflessness and generosity, their legacies will stand as cornerstones for the future well being of the Opera House.

The names of members of The 1897 Society shall be on display in the Opera House in perpetuity recognizing those who have sustained and strengthened this treasured landmark and its role in our community.

Questions and Answers About Planned Giving at the Vergennes Opera House

1.  Q:  Why would someone make a bequest to the Vergennes Opera House?
    A:  For many who care about the Opera House, a bequest enables an individual to make a larger gift than he or she would be able to make during a one’s lifetime. A bequest is the simplest planned gift and are inexpensive to arrange.  Importantly, a bequest can provide a donor with a lasting legacy and can serve as an example for others to follow.

2.  Q:  I plan to provide a bequest to the Vergennes Opera House in my will.  What is its legal name?
A:  Friends of the Vergennes Opera House is the legal name of the non-profit organization that sustains the Opera House and its program of events.

3.  Q: What is the language to be used in my will to make a simple bequest?
  A:  “I give, devise and bequeath to the Friends of Vergennes Opera House, a recognized IRS 501(c) (3) organization, Federal ID# 03-0341456, the sum of $________.”

4.  Q:  Do I have to tell the FVOH about my bequest intentions?
A:  We appreciate the fact that you may choose to keep your bequest intentions to yourself, but letting us know, even on a confidential basis, helps us with our financial planning. Also, informing us of your bequest provision qualifies you for membership in our 1897 Society, which recognizes those who make planned gifts to the Vergennes Opera House. Also, others who learn of your bequest intention may be influenced to follow your lead.

5.  Q:  Can I designate my bequest or other planned gift to a specific purpose?
    A:  Yes, but leaving your bequest as an unrestricted gift allows the FVOH to address its greatest needs. However, if you have a particular passion for maintenance and enhancement of the facility, or the underwriting of programming, or endowment, every effort will be made to accommodate your wishes.

6.  Q:  I have a particular interest in providing for the long-term well being of the Opera House. How might I make a provision in my will that fulfill my interest?
     A:  By creating an endowment. An endowment means your bequest would be invested and would remain in place in perpetuity.  Each year a portion of the earnings would be expended for the intended purpose each year, and a portion would be returned to the corpus as a hedge against inflation. This calculation would depend on market conditions each year. Importantly, an endowment can bear your name linking you to the Opera House as         an enduring tribute.

Someone to Speak With…
Making a planned gift is not only a very personal matter but one that involves new terminology and sometimes legal advice. We are pleased to speak with you about your interest and answer any questions you right have. We can also put you in touch with the right people if more help is needed. We are ready to respect your confidentiality as per your wishes. Please call any of these board members:
Gerianne Smart, President 802-777-7610
Jim Lanpher, Vice President 802-877-2230
Susan Schaefer, Treasurer 973-727-9482
Susan Nelson, Secretary 802-759-2399