Beneficiary Designations

Make a Gift in 3 Easy Steps

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Download our FREE guide Beneficiary Designations: Easy Ways to Leave Your Legacy.

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Not everyone wants to commit to making a gift in their wills or estates. Some prefer the increased flexibility that a beneficiary designation provides by using:

  • IRAs and retirement plans
  • Life insurance policies
  • Commercial annuities

It only takes three simple steps to make this type of gift. Here's how to name American University as a beneficiary:

  1. Contact your retirement plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution for a change-of-beneficiary form.
  2. Decide what percentage (1 to 100) you would like us to receive and name us, along with the percentage you chose, on the beneficiary form.
  3. Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution and share your provisions for AU via our Legacy Confirmation Form.

AU Beneficiary Designation Instructions

Watch How It Works

Video contains text and narration about Beneficiary Designations. Benficiary Designations: a quick and easy way to make a big difference. In less than the time it takes to walk your dog around the block, you can make a lasting impact on a cause you care about. Simply designate us as the beneficiary of your retirement plan, life insurance policy, or commercial annuity. When you use a beneficiary designation, you simply the estate planning and administration process. Your assets pass directly to the beneficiary without court intervention and your estate may receive a charitable estate tax deduction for those assets that pass to us. This process is a quick and easy way for you to make a substantial gift perhaps larger than what you could afford during your lifetime. Here's what you do: First, request a beneficiary designation form from your plan administrator, insurance agent, or bank representative. Second, designate us as the primary or a contingent beneficiary of the entire amount, a certain dollar amount, or a percentage of the assets. Third, sign, date, return the form and you're finished. It really is that easy. No time spent updating your will and no related legal fees. In just a few minutes, with a simple form you can create a lasting legacy and provide for the future of our mission. If your circumstances change during your lifetime, you can cancel or alter the agreement at any time And although we love surprises, please let us know when you've planned for us in your estate so we can say thank you. We will, of course, respect your wishes if you prefer your gift to remain anonymous. To learn more about simple ways to make a big difference, download the ebrochure Beneficiary Designations: The 3 Easiest Ways to Leave Your Legacy from this website. The process is quick and easy just like beneficiary designations. The information in this material is not intended for tax or legal advice. Please consult with your professional advisor before making a gift.

Putting Planning into Action

Amy and Kathleen Teso smilingAmy and Kathleen Teso

"It is all about giving back and saying thank you," says Kathleen Teso, parent of American University graduate Amy Teso, SIS/BA '89.

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In 1985, Amy was preparing to graduate from high school and begin her undergraduate studies at AU. Having been accepted early decision, Amy had planned to attend the School of International Service with the financial assistance of an exchange program made available to families of employees of AU and the University of Hartford, where Amy's father, the late William Teso, served on Hartford's engineering faculty. But Amy's hopes appeared dashed when she learned that the exchange program had been suspended. Kathleen Teso appealed to AU, sharing her daughter's passion for international studies and excitement at coming here to study, and asked for reconsideration. The response was swift, "Fair is fair," the letter read. "We hope Amy will enjoy her studies at AU."

"American University has had a lasting impact on Amy and our family," says Kathleen Teso. "My late husband and I were so proud of her accomplishments. We were delighted Amy was able to study at AU, and it is now my pleasure to include provisions in my estate plan to establish the Teso Family Scholarship."

Kathleen has named AU among the beneficiaries of her Individual Retirement Account (IRA) as she has done with the University of Hartford and her alma mater, Duke University. "Education is the key to advancement," Kathleen shares. "My means may be modest, but leaving a legacy that will benefit others is a priority."

Gifts That Pay

Your payments depend on your age at the time of the donation. If you are younger than 60, we recommend that you learn more about your options and download this FREE guide Plan for Retirement With a Deferred Gift Annuity.

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Not Sure How to Begin Planning?

Our comprehensive estate planning kit will save you time, protect your assets and help you establish your legacy.

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Next Steps

  1. Contact Seth D. Speyer at 202-885-3411 or for additional information on beneficiary designations and how they can help support AU with our mission.
  2. Talk to your financial or legal advisor to learn which assets will or will not trigger taxable income when paid to a beneficiary.
  3. If you name AU in your plans, please use our legal name and federal tax ID.

Legal Name: American University
Address: 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016
Federal Tax ID Number: #53-0196549

Contact Us

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016