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Bar News - December 21, 2016

NH Bar Foundation: Generous Bequests Boost Justice Funds


Two endowed Justice Funds maintained by the NH Bar Foundation recently received bequests from well-known lawyers and long-time supporters of the foundation and the legal community.

Ruth Tolf Ansell, who passed away at age 60 on April 8, 2014, succumbing to brain cancer, had made a bequest of slightly more than $29,000 to the A.J. McDonough Family Fund, which supports efforts to address the legal needs of senior citizens in New Hampshire. Ansell was an authority on trust and estate law, and started her own firm with longtime friend and partner Christine Anderson in 1994.

Also, a gift of $5,000 was received from the estate of David Nixon, who passed away at 82 years old in November 2014. Nixon, a prominent Manchester attorney who lived in New Boston, designated his gift to the Honorable William F. Batchelder Fund, which supports legal services for low-income and disadvantaged people in the state.

“The Bar Foundation honors the memory of our esteemed colleagues, and we are extremely grateful to Dave Nixon and Ruth Ansell and their families for including the Bar Foundation in their estate planning,” said Bar Foundation Chair Jack Middleton. “These gifts, added to existing funds, support the core purposes of our foundation. Their good work will live on.”

In 2007, Ansell wrote an article for Bar News encouraging members to consider charitable bequests to the Bar Foundation and other charities when preparing their wills. (See article excerpt below.) Her comments supported efforts by several Bar Foundation leaders to encourage planned giving.

An initiative is now being developed to follow up with donors who in past years have pledged to include the Bar Foundation in their estate planning and to contact potential donors. Bar Foundation Chair Jack Middleton is heading up this effort. Middleton noted that at the McLane Middleton law firm, where he serves as president, Charles DeGrandpre, then-chair of the Bar Foundation, spearheaded an effort 20 years ago to encourage planned giving that raised more than $250,000 in bequests.

Become a Foundation Legacy Donor

(A Poignant Reprint and Reminder)

Editor’s note: This article by the late Ruth Ansell, of Ansell & Anderson, was published in the May 4, 2007, issue of Bar News. Ansell at the time was treasurer of the NH Bar Foundation. The Bar Foundation recently received her bequest of $29,000. The article has been revised to remove obsolete details about tax law and Foundation donation information.

I have a mental list of things that I want to do before I die. I seem to think about this list more often these days. It’s natural, I suppose. I turned 50 a few years ago. With many other baby boomers, I have now reached “middle age” (although I don’t realistically expect to live another 50 years). Also, I’ve been practicing trust and estate law for more than 25 years, a practice which I surprisingly enjoy even though it encourages me to consider my own mortality, as well as that of my clients, on a nearly daily basis.

Truthfully, a lot of things are higher on my do-before-I-die list than my own estate plan. Although I draft wills and trusts every day, I only occasionally review or revise my own plan. I do not confuse estate planning with death (as if the first would either prompt or delay the second.) I am simply too busy on most days to address one more (hopefully) not-too-pressing-at-the-moment task.

I expect that many readers of this article feel the same way. Estate planning is generally not considered until life events raise its importance by comparison to other more immediate considerations in our daily lives. For many, it only becomes more pressing with marriage, divorce, birth of children or grandchildren, death of a loved one or airplane travel.

Fortunately, becoming a Legacy Donor to the New Hampshire Bar Foundation doesn’t have to be an arduous task. You can easily direct a gift to the Bar Foundation under your will or trust. Even if you don’t keep your personal estate plan on your computer for handy revisions, you might designate the Bar Foundation as a beneficiary of your life insurance or retirement account. Simply file a new beneficiary designation form with your insurance provider, retirement plan administrator or custodian. Your spouse will need to consent if the distribution is to be made from your qualified retirement account. Other than this, however, it’s easy. You can even do it without your secretary.

Legacy gifts can be specified as a dollar amount or as a percentage of the insurance proceeds or account balance. Gifts can be made to the Bar Foundation, for its general purposes, or to one of the currently designated Justice Society Funds.

When you think about it, the list of things which you can do after you die is not nearly as long as the list of things that you might want to do beforehand. A legacy gift to the Bar Foundation will support the advancement of justice after your death.

For information about including the Bar Foundation in your estate plans, please contact Lisha Brosseau at (603)715-3210.

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