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Family Funds Gift with Life Insurance Policy

Family Funds Gift with Life Insurance Policy

When Don Fite (51H) returned home from Work Week several years ago, he had more on his mind than memories of good times spent with friends.

Don was intrigued with something Work Week regulars had been discussing – the need for a fund to restore and preserve Berry's historic buildings. Although he thought it was a great idea, he really didn't think he could do much to make it happen.

A few months later, however, inspiration struck when Don and his wife, Mary, were reviewing their financial plans. The Fites decided to dissolve a trust funded by an insurance policy and, with their children's blessing, give that policy to Berry to help create the Berry College Historic Preservation Endowed Fund.

"Even though Mary didn't go to Berry, she has always been extremely supportive of my desire to contribute," Don said. "And when we talked with our children, Karen and Carl, about what we wanted to do, they both very generously agreed to give their half of the policy to Berry."

Glen Barber (91C), a registered investment advisor, co-owner of Barber Lackey Financial Group LLC in Atlanta and a member of the Berry College Planned Giving Council, calls this sort of charitable gift a great idea.

"It's like buying dollars with pennies," Barber said. "Say you give a $100,000 policy to Berry. The total value of that policy will benefit Berry one day, but it cost you nowhere near that much to purchase it."

Barber said giving Berry ownership of an existing life insurance policy, as the Fite family did, is really the best way to fund a charitable donation because of the tax benefits.

"People who have a life insurance policy with a substantial cash value can give that policy to a charitable organization such as Berry and receive an immediate income tax deduction," he stated. "It's a way to get a tax benefit now and have the satisfaction of knowing that you've helped Berry."

For the Fite family, helping Berry is what it is all about.

"We wanted to plant a seed and get something started that would meet a need that the school has," Don said. "It's not that we want to see everything stay the way it was in the '40s and '50s, but we want to help preserve the essence of those things in a way that can influence and help maintain the essence of Berry."

That's the spirit of historic preservation.


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