What are your thoughts on estate planning?
Ross Doan (RD): Estate planning has always been part of our lives. My late wife, Sally, and I used company pensions, social security and savings along the way to plan for our future.
Torii ’11 and Cole Kapavik ’11 (TCK): Estate planning is essential no matter your age. Unfortunately, terrible things happen, and many people don’t plan when they’re young because they expect to live a long time. Once you have assets, you should plan for what happens if you’re not here to manage them.
Do you have any estate planning advice?
RD: Overrate your future needs. I’m 92 and have been retired for 32 years. I never expected that!
TCK: Review your beneficiaries annually. It’s so simple! Also, think beyond primary beneficiaries. For contingent beneficiaries, think more broadly than just the next family member. Who or what organization could you help? For young people: Think about what you would want if something happened to you today. You can always make changes later if your priorities shift.
What planned giving method did you choose and why?
RD: I chose two charitable gift annuities because they supplement my annual income. I made my initial gifts and now receive a fixed amount of income for the rest of my life. I didn’t have to make any changes in my will for this—it’s set up separately and stops when I die. A charitable gift annuity makes your money work for you!
TCK: We named the Texas A&M Foundation as the contingent beneficiary of our life insurance policy and retirement accounts because this method allows us the flexibility to make an impactful future gift while using our assets during our lifetimes, and our gift can change in the future if our circumstances do. This also allows us to give our retirement assets to the Foundation tax-free, whereas family members would be taxed.
What inspired your planned gift?
RD: It was a way to honor Sally while supplementing my annual income. I chose to support Texas A&M because our daughter and grandson are both graduates. While our daughter was in school, we noticed that Aggies were different, and—even as outsiders—we could feel the Aggie Spirit. I think we forced my grandson to choose Texas A&M!
TCK: We were naming beneficiaries for life insurance policies and retirement accounts and had each other listed, but we needed a contingent beneficiary, and we don’t have children. Naming a charity as our contingent beneficiary made sense, and Texas A&M seemed like the natural choice since supporting future Aggies is important to both of us.
Which of your Texas A&M passions will your gift support?
RD: My gift will support future nursing students. I volunteered at St. David’s Hospital in Austin and was very impressed by how caring and efficient nurses can be.
TCK: Study abroad and veterinary residents in internal medicine. Neither of us studied abroad for financial reasons, but we don’t want that to prevent someone else from leaving the country to expand their mind and experience different cultures. For the vet school, our dog Sully was a patient at Texas A&M’s Small Animal Hospital for years and wouldn’t have been in our lives as long if not for the fantastic care they provided.
How does your gift fit into the legacy you wish to be remembered for?
RD: My legacy isn’t important—my wife’s is. Sally had a charitable heart, and I think she would be very pleased with my decision to make this gift.
TCK: I think if we could make an impact on just one person’s life, that would be worth our investment.