A bequest in your will or trust can be tailored to complement your financial goals while also supporting Tufts. It is the simplest way to make a significant gift to Tufts without affecting your assets during your lifetime.

If you decide to include a gift for Tufts in a bequest intention, please notify us so that we can thank you and make sure that we have a clear understanding of your plans.

See our sample bequest language

How a Bequest Works

  • You can plan for a future gift to Tufts by including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust.
  • When the time comes, your will or trust directs a bequest to Tufts for the purpose(s) you specify.

Benefits of Making a Bequest

  • Your assets remain in your control during your lifetime.
  • You can modify your bequest if your financial situation changes.
  • You can designate your bequest to a particular purpose; please contact us to ensure that your gift can be used as intended.
  • Making a charitable bequest can result in significant estate tax savings.

Important Factors to Consider 

How will your gift be used? 
You may choose to designate a particular program or department as beneficiary of your gift, or you may allow your gift to be used at the discretion of the university. Undesignated gifts will be used in the area of greatest need.

What form should your gift take? 
You may choose to designate a specific sum from your estate (e.g., $50,000), or you may choose to leave a percentage of your estate (e.g., 5 percent). Additionally, you can give specific assets through a bequest, including securities, real estate (such as a residence or office building), or tangible personal property (such as artwork, antiques, royalties, or copyrights).

Will your gift be permanent?
You have the option of “endowing” your gift to provide lasting financial resources. Because Tufts never spends down the principal of an endowed gift, there will always be income to support the programs and projects you designate.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Will my gift be tax deductible?
Historically, bequests have been deductible for federal estate tax purposes. In addition, the gift is usually exempt from state inheritance taxes.

What if I’ve already written my will or trust?
You can generally amend a will or trust to make a gift without rewriting the entire document. Your attorney can prepare the simple statement, called a codicil, which adds a new provision while reaffirming the other terms of your will. Similarly, he or she can prepare an amendment to your revocable trust to add Tufts as a beneficiary.

What’s the difference between a will and a trust?
A will serves as an instruction manual to your survivors about how you want your property distributed. It’s a revocable document that only takes effect after your death.

A revocable trust (also called a living trust) is a legal entity that can hold assets during your lifetime, then transfers ownership of them—or benefit from them—upon your death. Unlike a will, assets that pass through a trust will not be subject to the probate process.

There is no difference between wills and revocable trusts in the way transfers from them are taxed. In some states, however, the probate and distribution process is simpler with a revocable trust. Your advisers can help you choose which vehicle will work best for you.

A Bequest is for You if...

  • You want to help ensure the future viability and strength of the university.
  • Long-term planning is more important to you than an immediate income-tax deduction.
  • You want the flexibility of a gift commitment that doesn’t affect your current finances.

Bequest Checklist 

  • Clearly state the amount or percentage you would like to leave to Tufts University and if the gift is restricted to a particular use and/or permanently endowed.
  • When including a bequest provision in your will or revocable trust, we suggest you use our full legal name: “Trustees of Tufts College.”
  • If you’ve restricted your gift, have you included language that allows the university to use the funds in another way in the event that the purpose your gift supports is no longer relevant?
  • Contact the Gift Planning Office so that we can thank you and welcome you into the Charles Tufts Society.

This information is not intended to be legal or tax advice. Please contact your attorney if you are considering this type of gift.

If you have questions contact
Tufts Gift Planning Office