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Alumni Couple Shares Commitment to Service


Barbara and Marvin Ehnen

Happily married for nearly 42 years, Marvin '61 and Barbara Clasen '59 Ehnen have plenty in common. Besides their alma mater, they also share a commitment to service and stewardship, two qualities that were nurtured during their years at Wartburg College.
A native of Nebraska, Marvin also graduated from Wartburg Seminary and has spent a career attending to the spiritual and emotional needs of those in the various parishes where he has served. Currently, he is director of pastoral care at Good Samaritan Center, an elderly care facility in Davenport.

Barbara grew up in Wisconsin and, after raising two children, worked for the State of Iowa and as museum technician at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch.

The Enhens have been faithful stewards of their blessings. Like many couples in or near retirement, a large portion of their assets is held in retirement funds (401Ks, IRAs, etc.) that have not yet been subject to income tax. Recently, while completing their estate-planning process, they made a generous commitment that will positively impact future generations of Wartburg students.

"We considered it a special privilege to be able to attend Wartburg College some 40-plus years ago. Today, we consider it a great pleasure to be able to support the college in a significant way," Marvin and Barbara said. "We're firmly convinced that Wartburg continues to offer students excellent opportunities to explore their world of knowledge, their faith values, and their opportunities to serve."

Both Marvin and Barbara named Wartburg as the second beneficiary of their IRAs. Each is the other's first beneficiary, meaning the ultimate gift to Wartburg will come after both are deceased. Since the proceeds flow first to a spouse and then to a charity, no income tax is paid, resulting in the maximum use of those dollars.

Maintaining an inheritance for their children was a priority to the Ehnens. The solution came by involving their Lutheran Brotherhood agent, who set up a life insurance policy, the proceeds of which will ultimately flow tax-free to their two children. To pay the insurance premiums, the Ehnens withdraw a portion of their annual IRA investment earnings. As a result, they've created a tax-free legacy for their children and ensured that the principal will benefit Wartburg.

"Whenever we return to Wartburg, we're impressed with the wonderful character of the students, the ambitious expansion of the facilities, and the Christian spirit that pervades the entire campus," Marvin and Barbara said. "We are proud to be Wartburg alumni."

To learn more about how you may be able to use retirement assets to impact Wartburg and your family, and save taxes, too, please call the Development Office at 319-352-8487.

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Wartburg College a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

The bequest language for Wartburg College is "I [name], of [city, state ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Wartburg College or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Wartburg College as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Wartburg College as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Wartburg College where you agree to make a gift to Wartburg College and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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