Planning a Gift

Bryn Mawr Legacy: A Gift for Learning, A Gift for the Future

Charitable Remainder Trust

A Charitable Remainder Trust (also known as a "unitrust") is a gift plan defined by federal tax law that allows you to provide income to yourself or others while making a generous future gift to Bryn Mawr College. The income may continue for the lifetimes of the beneficiaries you name, a fixed term of not more than 20 years, or a combination of the two. The minimum gift to establish a charitable remainder trust is $100,000.

Charitable Remainder Trusts are individually managed and invested to meet a donor’s particular needs and wishes. As a unitrust donor, you irrevocably transfer assets, usually cash, securities, or real estate, to a trustee of your choice (for example, State Street Global Advisors acting on behalf of Bryn Mawr College or a bank trust department). During the unitrust's term, the trustee invests the unitrust's assets. Each year, the trustee distributes a fixed percentage of the unitrust's current value, as revalued annually, to the income beneficiaries. If the unitrust's value goes up from one year to the next, its payout increases proportionately. Likewise, if the unitrust's value goes down, the amount it distributes also goes down. For this reason, it may be to your advantage to choose a relatively low payout percentage so that the unitrust assets can grow, which in turn will allow the unitrust's yearly payments to grow.

Payments are usually made quarterly. When the unitrust term ends, the unitrust's principal passes to Bryn Mawr College, to be used for the purpose you designate. You may add funds to your unitrust whenever you like.


  • You will qualify for a federal income tax deduction. Note that deductions for gifts of long-term appreciated property will be limited to 30% of your adjusted gross income and gifts of cash and non-appreciated property will be limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income. You may, if necessary, take unused deductions of either kind over the next five years, subject to the same 30% or 50% limitation.
  • The income beneficiaries you name will receive annual income for life, or for the period you designate.
  • If you fund the trust with an appreciated asset and the trust sells it, there will be no immediate tax on the capital gain. If you were to sell such an asset yourself, you would owe tax on all the capital gain realized in the sale.
  • Your estate may enjoy reduced probate costs and estate taxes.
  • You will provide generous support of Bryn Mawr College