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Planned Giving

A Donor's Perspective: The Gift of Giving to GW, by Kathy and Les Megyeri

Megyeri

Estate Gift Boosts Study of Government Procurement Law, Establishes Professorship

By Les and Kathy Megyeri

Facing one's mortality and undertaking estate planning are difficult topics to consider, but it is imperative that individuals choose their directives while they are still capable of making intelligent and meaningful decisions. Our recent commitment to make the George Washington University the beneficiary of our estate came about after a recent automobile accident, but our long affiliation with the school dates back to the late 1950s.

Les, a refugee to this country following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, came to the U.S. with an expectation of a free education as it is in Hungary - an assumption he quickly discovered was not the case. After being turned away from a nearby university because he could not afford tuition, Les sought financial aid from GW's then-Treasurer, Morris Hartfield. Somehow, the university arranged the necessary financing and Les enrolled at GW as an undergraduate in economics. In 1962, I met Les in Professor Hennigen's speech class in the basement of Lisner Auditorium. He was working part-time as a waiter (luckily, this provided him with two meals a day, albeit at 5 p.m. and midnight) and I later supported him through law school on my yearly salary of $4,700.

After we married, the two of us continued to amass five degrees at GW, so the school has been an intricate part of our lives for half a century. Les' first legal position, a clerkship in the U.S. General Accounting Office, resulted from a conversation with GW Law Professor John Cibinic, a government contracts expert who took an enormous amount of pride in placing his students in law firms and government agencies city-wide. The encouragement and involvement of this professor set my husband's career in motion.

As Les and I approach 70 years of age, we recognize the extent to which GW has impacted our lives and want to remain a part of the institution even after we pass away. We also appreciate the direction that GW is taking to establish itself as a nationally-renowned school of research and we hope to contribute to its success. For these reasons, we decided to make GW the beneficiary of our estate through a revocable trust and will.

The utmost latitude was given to us in regards to our gift. We discussed a number of worthy initiatives including scholarships, faculty and librarian positions, facility upgrades, and the deans' funds. In other words, the myriad of giving opportunities guarantees that one's desires for a lasting legacy will be met and reflect one's own unique circumstances and charitable objectives.

Eventually we decided on two initiatives that hold particular meaning to us: first, we established an endowed chair in Government Procurement Law and, second, we contributed to the existing Nash-Cibinic Professorship, which honors John Cibinic, the professor who made such an impact on Les' life. It must be noted that the entire process was directed with ease and utmost respect for our desires. The paperwork consisted of no more than a will being drawn and a confirmation of our asset portfolio. We worked with Rick Robertson, a member of GW's Planned Giving staff, and our attorney Frank S. Baldino, who each provided superb guidance to ensure our wishes were properly documented and witnessed.

And what have we gained? We now have peace of mind that should we, God forbid, not survive our next automobile accident, our estate matters have been settled and our charitable wishes met. The university will benefit from the fact that, not only did we meet at GW, but we were both able to make a comfortable life together from the education we received there. Additionally, we gained membership into the Heritage Society, a group of like-minded individuals who have chosen to leave a legacy at GW through their estate planning. We've been truly blessed by the school, its leadership, and its scholarship, and now it's our turn to say "Thank You" through our planned giving.

The seven-figure bequest in the estate plans of Leslie (BA '63, JD '68, MBA '80) and Kathryn (MA '69, MA '82) Megyeri is completing the Nash-Cibinic Professorship and establishing the Megyeri Chair in Government Procurement Law. These professorships will join 44 endowed faculty positions at GW Law.

The Nash-Cibinic Professorship in Government Procurement Law and the Megyeri Chair in Government Procurement Law will ensure that government procurement law, an academic discipline founded by GW Law in 1960, continues to grow in significance and impact within the Law School and nationally, in academia as well as in policy and practice.

Mr. Megyeri is president of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America. He came to the United States as a refugee following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. He credits his success in this country especially to the legal training he received at the Law School from John Cibinic, who took great pride in placing his students in law firms and government agencies city-wide. Mrs. Megyeri enjoyed a long and successful teaching career, thanks to her graduate education at the GW School of Education and Human Development. They are grateful to have met each other in the basement of Lisner Auditorium when both were enrolled in the same speech class.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to George Washington 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

"I give to George Washington, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 2033 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20052, or its successor thereto, ______________* [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 GW 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 GW 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 GW 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 GW where you agree to make a gift to GW 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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