Life Income Gift FAQ

What types of assets can I use to establish a life income gift?
Charitable remainder trusts may be funded with virtually any asset, such as cash, stock (publicly traded or closely held), and real estate. Charitable gift annuities and pooled income funds may be funded solely with cash or marketable securities.

May I allocate a life-income gift to a specific purpose?
You may choose to designate your gift as unrestricted (which allows the University to direct it to its highest funding priorities), or you may choose to allocate your gift to a specific purpose, such as financial aid, your class’s Annual Giving endowment, or a particular academic or athletic department or program.

Are there minimum beneficiary ages for these gifts?
The minimum age to establish a charitable gift annuity at Princeton is 55 (age 60 for 2-life) and the minimum age to start receiving payments is 65 (both annuitants if 2-life). There are no minimum ages for establishing pooled income funds or charitable remainder trusts, but Princeton considers age along with the gift amount and other factors before entering into a gift agreement. Age may affect tax benefits as well.

Are there minimum gift amounts?
For charitable gift annuities and pooled income funds, the minimum gift amount is $25,000. For charitable remainder trusts funded with cash or publicly traded stock, the minimum gift amount is $50,000. For trusts funded with other assets, such as real estate, the minimum is $100,000. For charitable lead trusts, the minimum is $250,000, although they are typically established at $1 million and higher.

How large may the payments to income beneficiaries be?
Charitable remainder trusts typically pay 5% of trust assets.

The payout rates of charitable gift annuities are established by the American Council on Gift Annuities and determined at the date of the gift, and they remain fixed for the life of the beneficiary. The older the beneficiaries, the higher the payout rates.

Will I be entitled to an income tax deduction for establishing a life income gift?
The donor can report a charitable deduction for a portion of the fair market value of the gift. The amount of the deduction reflects the fair market value of the gift minus the value of the payments received by the income beneficiaries. Various factors, including ages and numbers of beneficiaries, payout rates, and the federal discount rate, will determine the amount of the deduction. Princeton’s gift planning staff can provide examples based on different scenarios.

Is it possible for other charities to benefit from these gifts?
The “remainder” of a charitable remainder trust may be allocated to different charities. Under New Jersey law, if Princeton is to serve as trustee, it must be irrevocably designated to receive at least 51% of the remainder. Charitable gift annuities and pooled income funds may not name other charitable beneficiaries.

Will I pay capital gains taxes if I fund a gift with appreciated property?
With pooled income fund gifts and certain remainder trusts, capital gains taxes may be avoided entirely. With charitable gift annuities, capital gains taxes will be reduced and the remaining amount may be spread out over the beneficiary's estimated lifetime.

How does Princeton benefit from life income arrangements?
Upon the death of the last surviving income beneficiary of a charitable remainder trust (or expiration of a specified term of years in the case of some trusts), Princeton will receive the remainder of the trust’s assets.

Upon the death of the last surviving income beneficiary of a charitable gift annuity, the residuum, or net remaining portion, of the gift is made available to Princeton.

Upon the death of the last surviving beneficiary of a pooled income fund, the beneficiary’s proportional share of the fund’s principal is severed from the fund and made available to Princeton.

In all cases, Princeton will use the funds it receives in the manner designated by the donor.

Are there any fees?
To cover the costs of investment management, program administration, tax preparation, and legal work, an annual fee in the range of 0.60% to 0.65% is charged (fees are not deducted from the beneficiary payments). The actual fee depends on the type of life income gift and the account value. For example, a trust with a market value of $100,000 will have an annual fee in the range of $600 to $650.

Do you have more questions about life income gifts?
The University's gift planning staff is available to provide the answers. You can reach us at 609-258-6318 or e-mail

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