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Sandy Bergsten '81: It's Never Too Early to Establish Your Legacy

Sandy Bergsten class= As an alumna, former faculty member and parent, Sandy Bergsten appreciates the value of an education at Hathaway Brown and is dedicated to helping uphold the school's tradition of excellence through her estate planning.

Sandy entered HB in the sixth grade when her family moved to Cleveland from Minnesota. She enjoyed the strong humanities program and participated in many extracurricular activities such as photography, yearbook and drama. But it was the faculty at HB that most impressed Sandy. "They are committed to helping students become the best they can be," she asserts.

After earning degrees from the University of Michigan and Columbia University, Sandy returned to Hathaway Brown as a photography teacher, chair of the fine arts program and 11th-grade dean. Coming back as a professional made Sandy even more aware of the importance of creating a community of the "brightest and most passionate faculty and staff who can provide the best experience possible for students."

Those students included Sandy's own daughters, Hope '08 and Molly '10. As a parent, Sandy recognizes the role the school played in helping her daughters achieve their goals. "Whether it's sports or science or the arts, you can excel in whatever you want at HB," she says.

Giving Future Students the HB Opportunity
In addition to sharing her time and talents as a teacher, student advisor and parent, Sandy has also been a regular donor to HB's Annual Fund. "I believe it's really important to support the institutions that supported you," she explains.

When HB introduced the Mary E. Raymond Legacy Society, Sandy was excited to join others who have included the school in their estate planning. "An estate gift is an easy way to give back to those who have given to you," says Sandy, who now works as a consultant for wealth managers of multigenerational families. Sandy hopes that her own bequest to HB will not only help sustain the future of the school but also serve as a message to her daughters and other women about the merits of estate planning. "It's never too early to think about your estate and the legacy you wish to leave."

To learn more about how you can become a member of the Mary E. Raymond Legacy Society or other ways to support Hathaway Brown, please contact Terry Kurtz at 216-320-8799 or tkurtz@hb.edu.

Find out more about bequests and how they can fit in your estate plans in our free guide. 

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Hathaway Brown School 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

Bequest Language

"I, [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Hathaway Brown School [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 Hathaway Brown School 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 Hathaway Brown School 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 Hathaway Brown School 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 Hathaway Brown School where you agree to make a gift to Hathaway Brown School 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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