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Gifts That Cost Nothing During Your Lifetime

Bequests, or gifts by will, are simple and flexible. Bequests leave you in control of your assets throughout your lifetime, and you can modify your gift to address changing circumstances. Through a bequest you can establish a legacy, honor a loved one, and benefit generations of Notre Dame students.

How it Works
Explain to your attorney that you’d like to include Notre Dame in your will or revocable trust. If your will is already written, you can add the school as a beneficiary by instructing your attorney to add an amendment called a codicil to your will. You can indicate a specific amount, a percentage of the balance remaining in your estate, or even a specific asset. If you’d like to direct your bequest to a specific purpose or program, please consult with the Advancement Office to ensure that your gift will be used as you intend. 

Bequests are frequently unrestricted. It is Notre Dame’s policy to add unrestricted bequests to the permanent endowment. Each year a modest percentage (currently 4%) of the endowment value is used for current school operations and helps the school attract and support a superb faculty, provide financial aid to qualified students, and keep tuition increases to a minimum. The principal is preserved to serve the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur for generations to come.

Click here for Sample Bequest Language


  • Specifying a percentage of your estate for charitable giving will ensure that the Academy receives the share you intended, regardless of how the value of your estate changes over time.
  • Be sure to tell us about your bequest intention. We want to thank you and welcome you into the Saint Julie Society.

Beneficiary Designations
Life insurance proceeds and the remaining balance in IRAs, pension plans, bank and brokerage accounts are distributed at the end of your lifetime via a beneficiary designation form.  Beneficiary designations offer you the flexibility of a bequest but are even simpler for you to put in place. 

How to Change a Life Insurance Beneficiary
Simply designate Notre Dame as a partial or full beneficiary of the death benefit by completing a Change of Beneficiary Form from your insurer. Per your instructions, Notre Dame will receive all or a portion of the death benefit. In the meantime, you will retain ownership of the policy and the flexibility to change your beneficiary designation later if your circumstances change. Policy proceeds will pass tax free to the school, and your estate will receive a deduction for the full amount of your gift. 

How to Change a Retirement Plan Beneficiary
To name the Academy of Notre Dame to receive all or a portion of what remains at the end of your lifetime in an IRA (regardless of the type of IRA) or other qualified retirement plan, fill out a Change of Beneficiary Form provided by your plan administrator. You will receive distributions from your retirement plan throughout your life, after which Notre Dame will receive its share of the remaining balance tax free. 

Why Retirement Plan Assets are a Prudent Choice 
Qualified retirement plan assets are among the most tax-burdened assets you can own. If you die before you have taken all distributions from your IRA, 401(k), Keogh, SEP, or other qualified retirement plan, the balance remaining in your plan can be subject to federal income and estate taxes that can claim 50% or more of its value. Though you can roll over your qualified retirement plan to your surviving spouse without incurring estate tax, income and estate tax will apply when distributed to other individuals. When distributed to a tax-exempt charity like the Academy of Notre Dame, however, no income tax will be due. If your estate plan calls for benefiting both individuals and charities, consider using retirement plan assets to make charitable gifts and earmark other assets for individuals.


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A Catholic, Independent, College Preparatory School for Young Women, Grades 6 through 12

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The Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, a Catholic, independent, college preparatory school, commits itself to the education of young women of grades 6 through 12 for responsible living in a global society.

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