One woman’s support borne of firsthand experience

Pat Hubbard, June E. Nylen Cancer Center director of fund development, recently visited with Legacy of Hope member Marie Ruettgers about her plans to remember the Cancer Center with a donation. Below is their conversation.

Pat: Marie, you included the June E. Nylen Cancer Center in your estate plans. What prompted you to take that step?

Marie: I wanted to make a significant gift to the Cancer Center after witnessing first hand the type of care and compassion the staff provide to the patients. A family friend was treated at the Cancer Center over the course of seven years and due to the excellent care he received he survived for years beyond his original prognosis. It truly was a gift to have him for those extra years.

Two years ago I was asked to join the Cancer Center’s Community Advisory Board. I jumped at the chance to help with fund-raising in order to make new and cutting edge treatments available for patients in order to increase survival rates and give more time to those who have received a cancer diagnosis.

Pat: What arrangements did you make and why?

Marie: I still have another 20 years in the work force and am actively working on building my retirement funds. A large cash gift is not possible for me at this stage in my life. Instead, I decided to give a portion of my retirement and life insurance proceeds to the Cancer Center upon my death. My retirement pension through my employer and my 401K are the two largest assets I own apart from my home. I have named the Cancer Center as a beneficiary for my pension plan, 401k, and life insurance proceeds. Depending on when I pass away, the gift could be as large as the complete balance of what I have and will save, or it will be the balance of what’s left after I have received some of the monthly retirement proceeds after I turn 67. Either way, the money is received by the Cancer Center after my death, so I’m not giving my retirement savings away while I’m alive.

Pat: How will the Cancer Center realize your gift at the time of your death?

Marie: The Cancer Center will receive 10 percent of my pension fund, 401k, and life insurance in the event I am survived by my mother and 25 percent if I am survived by my brother. However, if they predecease me, the Cancer Center will receive 100 percent of the balance in my pension fund, 401k, and insurance proceeds upon death.

Pat: Did you consider any other estate planning strategies when you made this decision?

Marie: I considered doing a cash gift or a residual gift of a certain percent of my estate rather than using my pension plan, 401k, insurance policies to make a gift to the Cancer Center. But in the end, this made it possible for me to make a more significant gift.

Pat: What do you hope the Cancer Center will do with the money they receive?

Marie: My true hope is that the Cancer Center won’t need my gift by the time I die because cancer has been eradicated by that time. But that’s not likely in my lifetime. I have made an unrestricted gift so that the Cancer Center makes the decision on how best to utilize the money. The board of the Cancer Center is filled with physicians, administrators, and volunteers who are dedicated to bringing the best medical care possible to our community. I trust them to make the right decision when my gift is realized by the Cancer Center. Given how expensive it is to replace and update technology, I hope that my gift makes it possible for our patients to have the very best equipment, service, and staff available for their care.

Pat: Why is it important to remember your favorite charity with estate planning?

Marie: Not all of us are blessed with enough wealth to make a difference during our lifetime with a large cash gift. However, most of us who save for retirement can make a large gift after we’re gone. Even 10 percent of a person’s retirement fund can make a huge difference in the lives of the people the Cancer Center serves.

Learn more about giving to the June E. Nylen Cancer Center by e-mailing Pat Hubbard or calling her at 712-252-9352.

This story appears in our Summer 2010 newsletter.

Post by Robin McGinty

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