Owners of IRAs often forget that these plans defer taxes but do not avoid them. The tax liability associated with your retirement plan does not disappear at death. In fact, the assets remaining in your retirement plan will be the most highly taxed assets in your estate because they will be subject to income and estate taxes.
Good planning suggests that it is wise to leave appreciated stock, real estate and cash to your family and to leave retirement plan assets to charity. To avoid taxes you must name a charity as the beneficiary of your retirement plan assets, not your estate. Retirement plan assets that pass through your estate will be subject to taxes even if they are later used to make charitable bequests.
To name the Brooklyn College Foundation (BCF) as a beneficiary of all or part of the assets remaining in your IRA or other retirement plan, request a beneficiary designation form from your plan sponsor. We suggest that you make two copies of the completed form before returning it to your plan sponsor. Keep one copy with your will, and send the second to the BCF along with a letter of intent explaining how you would like your bequest to be used. If you don't specify a purpose, your gift will be applied to the area of greatest need.
Discussing your gift with our staff is the best way to make sure it will be used according to your wishes. Allowing us to publicly recognize your gift — by enrolling as a member of our Legacy Society — will help inspire other alumni to include the Brooklyn College Foundation in their plans.