Planned and Major Gifts

Since our founding, major gifts have helped transform this campus community—in fact, our college bears the name of Mrs. Susanna P. Lees, an early generous benefactor. You too can leave a legacy. By making a major or planned gift, you will become a part of our future. Your contributions will serve as a permanent reminder of your generosity to, and love for, this place we call home.

There are creative ways to support the college while benefiting you and/or your loved ones. For example:

  • You can make a gift that costs nothing during your lifetime.
  • You can give through an IRA.
  • You can receive income for life in return for your gift.
  • You can donate your house, continue to live there, and get a tax break at the same time.
How to Make a Planned Gift

What to Give and How

Regardless of which method you choose, you’ll contribute to the institution’s overall health and benefit generations to come.



    This is the easiest way to make an estate gift to Lees-McRae College. Your estate will receive a charitable deduction and tax savings may be realized by your heirs.

    Benefits of Your Bequest

    • Receive estate tax charitable deduction.
    • Lessen the burden of taxes on your family.
    • Leave a legacy at Lees-McRae.

    Bequest Options

    • Gift of a percentage of your estate.
    • Gift of a specific dollar amount.
    • Gift from the residue of your estate.

    Bequest Language

    Talk with your attorney about making a bequest to Lees-McRae. He/she will help you determine what is the best option for you. We have included some basic language to help you when drafting your Will.

    1. Outright Bequest
      “I hereby bequeath $XXX to Lees-McRae College located at P.O. Box 128, Banner Elk, NC, 28604 for the college’s general use and purpose.”

    2. Bequest of Specific Personal Property
      “I hereby bequeath DESCPRIPTION OF PROPERTY to Lees-McRae College located at P.O. Box 128, Banner Elk, NC, 28604 for the college’s general use and purpose.”

    3. Bequest of Percentage of Estate
      “I hereby bequeath PERCENTAGE OF YOUR ESTATE to Lees-McRae College located at P.O. Box 128, Banner Elk, NC, 28604 for the college’s general use and purpose.”

    4. Restricted Bequest
      If you are considering restricting your bequest for a specific purpose (capital, endowment, scholarship, etc.), please let us know, so we can help to ensure you that your wishes are appropriately carried out.

      If you are making a restricted bequest, we recommend that your attorney include language such as, “Should it no longer be possible for Lees-McRae College to use the gift as originally intended, the Board of Trustees may determine that the income and/or principal of this gift be used for such a purpose deemed most closely related to the restricted purpose of the bequest.”

    Life Insurance

    A gift of your life insurance policy is an excellent way to leave a legacy at Lees-McRae College. If your policy is no longer needed or will not benefit your survivors, please consider gifting it to Lees-McRae College.

    Life Insurance Options

    1. Donate your fully-paid life insurance to Lees-McRae, making the college the owner of the policy. You will receive a charitable deduction based on the present value of the policy.
    2. Name Lees-McRae as a beneficiary of any life insurance policy that you own.
    3. Establish a new life insurance policy with Lees-McRae as the owner and beneficiary. The donor makes an annual fully tax deductible gift to the college that may be used to pay the premiums. The college benefits from the proceeds of the policy.

    Retirement Assets

    A gift of your retirement assets, such as a gift from your IRA, 401k, 403b, or pension is an excellent way to make a gift to Lees-McRae College.

    Transferring Retirement Assets

    Your retirement assets may be transferred to Lees-McRae by completing a beneficiary designation form provided by your insurance plan custodian. If you designate Lees-McRae as beneficiary, the college will benefit from the full value of your gift because your IRA assets will not be taxed at your death. Your estate will benefit from an estate tax charitable deduction for the gift.



    Many people believe that trusts are for the wealthy. While trusts can be very beneficial to the wealthy, often those with limited assets establish trusts to preserve their capital and increase the earning derived from it.

    You may establish a trust that will permit you to make a gift to Lees-McRae College (and receive a charitable deduction) while increasing your income.

    Most Popular Charitable Trusts

    • Charitable Lead Trust
    • Charitable Remainder Trust

    Charitable Lead Trust

    To establish a charitable lead trust, you make a contribution of cash, stock, or personal property to fund a trust that pays Lees-McRae income for a number of years. You receive an estate tax deduction at the time of your gift. After a period of time, your beneficiary receives the trust assets plus any additional growth in value.

    Charitable Remainder Trust

    To establish a charitable remainder trust, the donor makes a contribution of cash, stock, or personal property to fund a trust, and the trust pays the donor a percentage of the trust assets each year. There is the potential that your income could increase over time with growth in the trust. The remainder of the trust goes to Lees-McRae at your death.


Order of the Sacred Flame

Order of the Sacred Flame

Membership in the Order of the Sacred Flame is conferred upon those individuals who have provided for the future of Lees-McRae College in their estate plans.

These estate provisions may be accomplished in a variety of ways:

  • a charitable bequest through one's will
  • a life income plan such as a Charitable Gift Annuity
  • a Charitable Remainder Trust
  • a life insurance policy
  • or by another suitable plan formulated by you and your financial advisor, coordinated through Lees-McRae's Office of Advancement.

Order of the Sacred Flame Members

Order of Sacred Flame 2020 Induction

The 2020 induction ceremony for the Order of the Sacred Flame recognized the newest donors who have provided for the future of Lees-McRae. Read more


Contact Sam Stephenson at 828.898.2534 or for more information.