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Mark '72 and Marcia Siewert

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I do it because of my Belief in Clarkson
Fall 2008


“I never planned to tell Clarkson about my estate gift.”

That comment from Mark Siewert ’72 during a recent interview allowed us to explore why individuals do, and do not, tell charities about their estate gifts.

Mark, when did you first include Clarkson in your estate plan?
“It’s been at least six years. I had been thinking of including Clarkson for a long time, and as Marcia and I were updating our plans several years ago, we decided it was time to include Clarkson.”

Why did you include Clarkson in your estate plan?
“It’s the third leg of giving. We feel it important to support the charitable causes that have made a difference in our lives. We enjoy giving to the Clarkson Fund, and we know that those annual gifts support students each year. We also recently pledged a larger gift in honor of my 35th reunion. Thinking about an estate gift is a natural next step. My Clarkson education gave me more in my life than any amount I could have paid in return, and I want to make sure that education is available to future generations.”

What is your plan for Clarkson?
“It’s actually a two-part plan. On my death, Clarkson will receive a bequest from my estate. I believe in unrestricted giving, so my gift will be used wherever the need is greatest at the time. Upon the second of us to die, a portion of the estate will go into a charitable lead trust that will make annual fixed payments to Clarkson for 10 years before passing to our son. The lead trust helps to minimize estate tax, so the plan not only helps Clarkson, but helps my family as well.”

That’s a wonderful plan, why didn’t you tell Clarkson?
“A will is a private matter. I didn’t want to make a big deal of it; I wasn’t looking for a big fanfare. This may be the largest gift I’m ever able to make, but I do it because of my belief in Clarkson, not because I want recognition or attention.”

So then why did you tell Clarkson?
“I came to understand that the information would be useful to Clarkson now. I could confirm with Clarkson that my gift plan is structured properly to be used the way I intend, and I was impressed at how important it is to Clarkson to say thank you to me now. Clarkson knows that my circumstances may evolve, and I will simply tell the University if I ever change my will. Maybe most importantly, sharing my story encourages others to plan. It’s another way that I can help Clarkson, now and later.”

What’s Creative About Mark Siewert’s Gift Plan?
With the help of Clarkson and his advisers, Mark Siewert has created a plan that connects his lifelong philanthropy, provides for his family and makes a wonderful gift to Clarkson:
·  Mark’s bequest is flexible and can evolve over time to meet personal and philanthropic goals
·  Gifts will go to Clarkson in stages, so that Mark can also take care of family members
·  The bequest may provide an estate tax deduction if needed
·  The charitable lead trust helps eliminate estate tax on the assets passing to their son, Chris
·  Clarkson has documented Mark’s wishes to ensure that his gift will be used as he intends
·  A portion of the gift will count in Clarkson’s upcoming fundraising campaign
·  A portion of the gift will count in Mark’s 40th anniversary reunion in 2012