Posted by: Kallie Sulanke on May/23/2019

Talk to Us About Bequests

The language used to make a gift through your will to The Community Foundation can be confusing sometimes. We talk about making a bequest, but what is it really?

Through its Old English origins, a “bequest” was originally a transfer of personal property by will. By historical contrast, the transfer of land occurred through a “devise.” Today, the terms are interchangeable. Many people say a bequest can occur through any end-of-life transfer, not just through a will.

It is common to arrange our bequests in ways that minimize needless taxes and administrative costs. What’s the best way to accomplish this? Will your heirs incur income or inheritance tax? Will your estate have estate tax or hidden income tax liabilities? Some of this can be confusing and that’s a prime reason why too many put off writing a will. It is intimidating to some folks to set an appointment with an attorney and to discuss unfamiliar topics.


Community Foundation donors, Gary and Lana Merritt decided to have those conversations.

A few years ago, Middletown native, Gary, and Muncie native, Lana, decided they wanted to give back to the communities they called home. Through conversations with the Foundation, they decided to join The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County’s Legacy Society. Two new funds will be established through the Merritts’ estate plan.

The couple holds a special place in their hearts for the animals in their lives. During their 46 years of marriage, they have had a variety of pets. Today, their family includes two cats.

“You just build a special relationship with pets,” explained Gary, who also regularly walks his nephew’s dog, Sophie, while visiting friends in his hometown.

Gary and Lana want to make a difference in the lives of animals through a bequest. Future funds established in the Merritts’ name will benefit animal serving organizations – Animal Rescue Fund and Best Friends Animal Society, a national nonprofit focused on saving animals.

Gary explained that working with local community foundations made the process simple.

“We want to support both of our hometowns. Working with local community foundations was the way to do that. If you are looking for a way to give back, talk to someone at the Foundation to learn more about your options. We trust our money will go where we want it to go.”


We are ready to have these conversations with you.  

The Community Foundation can take the confusion out of bequests.  In fact, we can send you a brochure that explains in simple terms the basics of having a sound will and what steps to take to get yours.

We will take the extra step of helping you plan a future gift to The Community Foundation if that is of interest. We are ready to personally assist in answering any questions you may have. We can also help you find a qualified attorney, one who will simplify the process for you. 

To learn more about using a bequest to establish your legacy at The Community Foundation contact Kelly K. Shrock, president, at 765-747-7181 or

Contact Us

We're all about serving the community, so we welcome input from the community. Tell us about a need, ask how to get involved, or just let us know what you think of our website. We look forward to hearing from you.