Skip to Top Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Husson University Alumni and Friends

Glossary of Helpful Terms

Appreciated Property

Securities, real estate, or any other property that has risen in value since the benefactor acquired it. Generally, appreciated property held by the donor for a year or more may be donated at full fair market value with no capital gains cost.


A contractual arrangement to pay a fixed sum of money to an individual at regular intervals. The charitable gift annuity is a gift that secures fixed lifetime payments to the benefactor and/or another individual.

Adjusted Gross Income (“AGI”)

Your total gross income adjusted downward by specific deductions allowed by the tax code, before taking your standard or itemized deductions. AGI is the number you write at the bottom of page 1 of your 1040. Individuals may deduct charitable cash contributions up to 50% of AGI in any given tax year. For gifts of appreciated property the deductible limit is 30% of AGI in any given tax year.


A professional assessment of the value of a piece of property. Generally, benefactors contributing real or tangible personal property (books, collectibles, etc.) worth $5,000 or more must secure an independent appraisal of the property to substantiate the value they claim as a charitable deduction.

Appreciated Assets

Assets that have a higher market value than their basis or tax purpose value. Such assets would, if sold by an individual or non-charitable organization at a price higher than their basis, potentially generate taxable capital gains (either long-term or short-term depending on the holding period).

Basis (Cost Basis)

The benefactor’s purchase price for an asset, possibly adjusted to reflect subsequent costs or depreciation. If Mrs. Smith bought stock for $100 per share and sold it for $175, her cost basis in the stock is $100 per share.


The recipient of a bequest from a will or a distribution from a trust, retirement plan, or life insurance policy.


A transfer of property or cash to an individual or organization under a will.

Capital Gains Tax

A federal tax on the appreciation in an asset between its purchase and sale prices.


A codicil is a document that amends, rather than replaces, a previously executed will. Amendments made by a codicil may add or revoke a few small provisions (e.g., changing executors), or may completely change the majority or all of the gifts under the will. Each codicil must conform to the same legal requirements as the original will, such as the signatures of the testator and, typically, two or three (depending on jurisdiction) disinterested witnesses.

Endowment Fund

An invested fund owned by a charity from which the capital appreciation and/or income is used to support the general or specific objectives of that charity's mission.

Estate Tax

A federal tax on the value of the property held by an individual at his or her death (paid by individual's estate, not the heirs or recipients of bequests). In contrast, state inheritance tax is applied to the value of bequests passing to beneficiaries; it is also paid by the estate before the distributions are made.


The person named in a will to administer the estate (known in some states as the "personal representative").

Fair Market Value

The price that an asset would bring on the open market.


The individual transferring property into a trust.

Income Interest

In a trust, the right to receive payments from the trust for lifetime or a term of years.


Dying without a legal current will or living trust.


A trust that is created by an individual while they are still living as opposed to a testamentary trust which is created by a will after someone's passing.

Life Income Gift

A planned gift that makes payments to the benefactor and/or other beneficiaries for life or a term of years, then distributes the remainder to charity.

Personal Property

Securities, artwork, business interests and items of tangible property as opposed to "real property," used in planned giving to refer to land and the structures built on it.

Planned Giving

A method of charitable giving that enables generous individuals to make larger gifts than they could make from their income. While some planned gifts provide a life-long income to the donor, others use estate and tax planning techniques to provide for charities and other heirs in ways that maximize the gift and/or minimize its impact on the donor's estate.

Present Value

The value on a given date of a future payment or a series of future payments, discounted to reflect the time value of money based on various factors such as investment risk and inflation.


The review or testing of a will before a court (the Probate Court) to ensure that the will is authentic and the estate is distributed properly.

Remainder Interest

In a trust, the portion of the principal left after the income interest has been paid to the beneficiary(ies). A charitable remainder trust pays income to the benefactor or other individuals and then passes its remainder to charity.


Refers to a trust that is created in a will after someone’s passing as opposed to a living (or intervivos trust which is created by a living grantor.


A legal entity created by a written agreement by a grantor to hold and invest property for the benefit of the grantor and/or other beneficiaries.


An individual or organization carrying out the wishes of the person who established the trust (the "grantor"), paying income to the beneficiaries and preserving the principal for ultimate distribution