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Woman leaves estate entirely to scholarships

A mysterious woman without any remaining family recently made the news when she left around $4 million to charity, specifically in the form of scholarships for several schools and universities near where she had lived. The woman’s gift came as a surprise to many since she had worked as an office administrator and paralegal and lived in a modest home.

The organizations that now benefit from that generous gift have been seeking answers about the benefactor, who was relatively unknown in the community until she became involved in a local church during her later years. Estate executors believe that the woman and her husband, who they believe had been a mechanic, invested well and earned much of this fortune from the stock market.

Since the estate was under the limit for the federal estate tax and it was given to charitable causes it was not subject to taxes, so all of the money will go towards funding up to six scholarships of $50,000 per year for students.

She told a representative from the local foundation that is aiding in distributing the gift that the scholarships should go not necessarily to the students with the best grades, but to those who worked the hardest.

This story and others like it remind us of what a big difference charitable giving can make and sets an example for how some people choose to incorporate it into their estate plans. An outright gift of all assets is not right for everyone, but there are a variety of ways to accomplish the goal of giving back to the community.

Source: Post-Gazette, “O’Hara woman wills her $4 million estate for scholarships,” Joyce Gannon, Nov. 12, 2013. 

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