Beneficiary Designations: Simple, Private and Flexible

Photo of hands on laptop keyboardIn recent years it has become common for gifts to the University of Maine Foundation after a donor’s death to be made via beneficiary designation.


A beneficiary designation is a statement that describes who should receive an asset or account after the owner dies. A donor can designate that the University of Maine Foundation receive all or a portion of what remains in most qualified retirement plans, such as an IRA, a 401(k), or a 403(b) account. Other accounts that allow beneficiary designations include “transfer on death” bank or brokerage accounts, insurance policies, commercial annuity contracts and donor advised funds sponsored by financial institutions.

Designation forms (paper or online) are available from the entity holding the account. Designations can be changed at any time. Even though the Foundation staff always recommends that donors consult with their advisers before making a planned gift, donors do not need an attorney to complete a designated beneficiary form or to change it at some later time. This simplicity and lack of cost appeals to many donors.

Transfers made by a beneficiary designation pass outside the probate process, which preserves privacy and allows the transfers to occur more quickly.

Some donors prefer to make gifts to the University of Maine Foundation that do not take effect until their deaths because they are concerned that they might need the assets to pay for unforeseen expenses later in life.

Many donors choose to endow scholarship funds with these transfers so that University of Maine students can be helped in perpetuity.

We encourage you to talk with the Foundation planned giving staff about the simplicity, preservation of privacy and flexibility that beneficiary designations can provide.

Sarah McPartland-Good, Senior Director of Planned Giving
Phone: 207.581.5100 (Orono)

Karen Kemble, Planned Giving Officer
Phone: 207.581.5116 (Orono)

Dan Willett, Associate Director of Planned Giving
Phone: 207.253.5172 (Falmouth)

Dee Gardner, Planned Giving Officer and Coordinator of Reunion Giving
Phone: 207.253.5195 (Falmouth)