Assets from your individual retirement account, pension plan, profit sharing plan, stock bonus plan, 401(k) or 403(b) can constitute a large portion of your retirement portfolio. However, any retirement plan assets you don’t use during your lifetime will be subject to income tax in the hands of your beneficiary, regardless of who that person is. If that person is not your spouse, your estate may also have to pay estate tax on those assets. In some cases, the combination of the two can mean that your heirs could receive as little as 30% of the entire value of your account. Being a charitable organization, the University does not pay tax on your gift, thus making a gift of retirement plan assets an ideal vehicle for making a gift.

Retirement Plan Asset Basics

Designating Mercyhurst University as a beneficiary of your retirement plan:

  • Ensures the University receives the full value of your gift.
  • May be easily changed as your plans change.
  • Removes assets from your estate, thereby reducing estate tax.
  • Provides meaningful support for the University and ensures the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy will continue to benefit students for years to come.

Where to Start:

  1. Contact Ryan J. Palm '07, assistant vice president for advancement, with any questions you may have and to discuss your intentions regarding how your gift is used.
  2. Request a beneficiary form from your retirement plan administrator.
  3. Identify Mercyhurst University as a full or partial beneficiary of your plan.
  4. Include Mercyhurst University's federal tax ID number 25-0965430 on your beneficiary form.
  5. Return the completed form to your retirement plan administrator.
  6. Provide a copy of your completed beneficiary form to the Office of Advancement.

A gift of your retirement plan assets entitles you to membership in the O'Neil Society, the recognition society for those giving to Mercyhurst through their will or other estate-related gifts.