Bequest FAQ

Q: What is a bequest?

A: A gift of property from a deceased person's estate. Simply name the Ayn Rand Institute as the recipient of all or a portion of your estate in your will. Choose a set dollar amount, piece or property/real estate or % of your estate or the residual estate (estate once all other bequests are honored). See [Bequest Language] for sample wording.

  • You may name ARI as a primary or contingent beneficiary of an insurance policy, retirement plan, bank or brokerage account and other financial assets.
  • A bequest to ARI allows you to make a substantial gift without depleting assets needed during your life. It also reduces or eliminates estate tax, if large enough to be taxed. Bequest designations are revocable during your lifetime if you change your mind.

Q: What information does my attorney need to include a bequest to ARI in my will?

A: Your attorney will need to know that ARI's legal name is "The Ayn Rand Institute: The Center for the Advancement of Objectivism," and that ARI is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) "public charity" with tax identification number 22-2570926. In addition, you may wish to include ARI's address: 6 Hutton Centre Drive, Suite 600, Santa Ana, CA 92707-5780

Q: Does ARI require a copy of my will or beneficiary forms if I have included ARI as a beneficiary?

A: No. However, we appreciate receiving such documentation and having it on file, so that we are prepared to be as proactive as possible in carrying out your wishes. We keep the information confidential and it doesn't imply any obligation, since your arrangements are revocable and may be changed at any time. We do understand that estate planning is a personal and private matter, and that some donors may inform us about what they have arranged but prefer not to send any documentation.

Q: Will a bequest to ARI reduce my taxes?

A: Not during your lifetime. However, if your estate is large enough to incur estate tax after your death, your bequest to ARI will reduce that tax. (This reduction generally applies only to U.S. donors.) In this regard, some assets make better charitable gifts than others; consider bequeathing to ARI those assets on which your other heirs would have to pay the most tax, either estate or income tax.

Q: Are there any deferred gifts that do offer tax advantages during life?

A: Yes. There are several vehicles that offer tax savings, supplementary income and additional benefits to donors during their lifetimes. See [How to Give] for more information about these vehicles and techniques.

Q: I have a will, but ARI is not included. Do I have to write a new will to designate a bequest to ARI?

A: Not necessarily. Minor changes to your will are easily accomplished with a short legal document called a codicil, which amends your existing will. If you are making major changes to your will, it may be preferable to draft a new will rather than to use a codicil.

Q: What if I arrange a bequest to ARI and then need to change my plans?

A: We understand that bequests are revocable, and that life circumstances and other factors can lead to changes in estate planning priorities. However, we respectfully request that if you change the manner or fact of your bequest to ARI, you will let us know that there has been a change.

Q: I would like to leave a bequest to ARI, but I have other obligations that may require all my estate's resources. Do I have any options?

A: Yes. You could consider designating ARI as the contingent beneficiary of your estate, i.e., the last-named beneficiary in case your other beneficiaries predecease you or are otherwise unable to accept your bequests. In this way, you can provide for the most unlikely—but still possible—eventualities that should be considered as part of your estate plan. While ARI recognizes the remoteness of such contingencies, we do appreciate donors' inclusion of ARI in their plans at whatever level is possible and appropriate.

Q: How will my bequest be used after I am gone?

A: Unless you specify otherwise, your bequest will be designated for current programs at that time or reserved for future use, at the discretion of ARI's board of directors. Because of the magnitude of our goals, the board's policy has been to retain maximum flexibility in how bequests may be used when received. A sizeable bequest can make a significant difference in what we are able to accomplish sooner rather than later in advancing Objectivism. In due course, we plan to designate a portion of every unrestricted bequest to an endowment, with the long-term goal of generating sufficient operating income to cover all administrative expenses—thus having all contributions directly fund our cultural and academic programs.

Q: Does ARI have an endowment?

A: ARI has established two endowment funds. The Permanent Endowment Fund is designed to provide financial security for the indefinite future; principal is reserved, and only income is distributed. The High Impact Endowment Fund allows for relatively near-term funding for ARI's work; in addition to income, the principal of each gift to this fund is distributed in equal installments over a ten-year period. Both funds are still small. Any contribution, current or deferred, may be earmarked for either fund, and ARI welcomes the opportunity to substantially fund either or both endowments at any time. Unless designated by donors, all gifts go to our general operating funds for the maintenance and expansion of ARI programs.

Q: Regardless of whether I designate my bequest to endowment, may I restrict its use to a specific ARI program?

A: Yes. With restricted bequests, however, a potential difficulty arises in projecting whether an existing program will still be a part of ARI's strategic plan at the time the bequest is received, which could be decades away. Thus, we request that in drafting your bequest, your attorney include language allowing ARI's board the discretion to redirect your gift or broaden its application if your restricted use is no longer possible. In addition, we have worked with several donors to create special gift agreements which address their specific interest yet preserve ARI's ability to maximize the value of their gifts to advance our mission.

Q: What if ARI no longer exists when my estate is settled?

A: In your will and other estate-planning documents, you can specify an alternate charitable beneficiary in the unlikely event that ARI is not in existence at the time of your death. Some donors have provided that, in this circumstance, ARI's share of their estate be divided among their other beneficiaries. Others have given discretion in this regard to their executors, trustees or family members.

Q: Years ago I was a successful bidder at one of ARI's early fundraising auctions of Ayn Rand's manuscripts and memorabilia. If I have no other plans for my auction items, would ARI accept them as part of my legacy?

A: Yes. The Ayn Rand Archives at ARI respectfully encourages auction winners to consider bequeathing such items and welcomes the opportunity to expand its permanent collection of original material.

Q: My will was written some years ago and includes a bequest to the Foundation for the New Intellectual, a nonprofit organization established by Ayn Rand. Does this entity still exist? If not, will it go to ARI instead?

A: The Foundation for the New Intellectual was dissolved some years ago, its functions and mission having been superseded by the Ayn Rand Institute. However, a bequest designated to FNI will not automatically go to ARI. Rather, it will be distributed according to the terms of your will or left to the discretion of your executor or the probate judge. To ensure that ARI receives such a bequest, you should either add a codicil to your will changing the beneficiary from FNI to ARI or write a new will that includes the appropriate designation to ARI.

Q: How does ARI address donors' concerns about privacy and confidentiality of bequests and estate planning?

A: We understand that estate planning is a personal matter, and that some donors prefer to keep their arrangements completely private. We respect this choice. However, if we do not know that you have arranged a bequest to ARI, we cannot acknowledge your generosity during your lifetime nor offer you participation in Atlantis Legacy. Once you inform ARI of your plans, we treat your disclosures with the utmost seriousness regardless of how much or how little detail you choose to share. Beyond the planned giving department, details of your arrangements are shared only with ARI senior management, and then only when necessary.

Q: One day ARI will achieve its goals and Ayn Rand's philosophy will dominate the culture. Will ARI disband at that point, its mission having been accomplished?

A: No. Rather, our overall mission will shift to a more historic and scholarly nature, such as has already been undertaken by the Ayn Rand Archives at ARI. With reason guiding human life in a free society, interest in Ayn Rand and her philosophy will be stronger than ever. ARI will continue to serve as the active, central repository for resources related to Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

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