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Bequests procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 26 February 2015.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines the process for effectively managing bequests and prospective bequests to the University.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to the management of prospective bequests and the acceptance, recording and recognition of bequests to the University and is pursuant to the Gifts and Sponsorship policy.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) Refer to the Gifts and Sponsorship policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

Bequest enquiries

(5) Bequest enquiries should be directed to the Deakin Advancement.

(6) University employees and office holders must maintain the highest ethical standards at all times when engaging a bequest donor or bequest prospective donor. This includes not accepting appointment as power of attorney, executor or trustee of a bequest, nor writing or witnessing a Will for a bequest donor or prospective donor unless they have family, social, or personal contacts with the donor or prospective donor which are separate to their position at the University and do not involve a conflict of interest (see Conflict of Interest procedure).

Prospective bequest donor

(7) If a prospective bequest donor approaches the University, the prospective bequest donor is to be introduced to the Chief Advancement Officer.

(8) The Chief Advancement Officer will assign a Prospect Manager to the prospective bequest donor.

(9) The Prospect Manager will liaise with the donor and the relevant University stakeholders required to realise the donor's intention, to develop the details of the bequest agreement which will contain the following information:

  1. name and contact details of the donor and their trustee, solicitor or executor
  2. name of the activity for recording the bequest in Deakin Financial Management System
  3. amount if known and beneficiary of the gift
  4. donor's intention for the bequest
  5. sufficient detail to allow the Deakin Advancement to determine whether donor's intention can be realised
  6. a grandfather clause such that, if in the future the donor's specific intention cannot be met, an appropriate person can determine a way of ensuring that the donor's general intention can be met. This responsibility should be vested in an office approved by the donor such as the Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor, the Chief Advancement Officer or the donor's trustee.

(10) Bequest agreement templates are maintained by Deakin Advancement.

(11) Once approved by relevant internal parties, the bequest agreement is sent to the donor for their approval/signature and return.

(12) Deakin Advancement records the bequest agreement and sends a letter of acknowledgement.

(13) The Prospect Manager will thank the donor and maintain regular contact.

Receipt of a bequest

(14) On notification of an unanticipated bequest, the Chief Advancement Officer assigns a Prospect Manager to the bequest.

(15) On notification of an unanticipated bequest or the death of a donor who made a bequest agreement, the Prospect Manager liaises with the donor's executor and Deakin Advancement until the bequest is realised and payment received.

(16) Following receipt of payment or acceptance of gift in-kind, Deakin Advancement notifies:

  1. the Beneficiary
  2. the University Solicitor
  3. the Financial Accountant, if an endowment.

Official correspondence with executors and trustees

(17) Correspondence with executors and trustees is the responsibility of Deakin Advancement. If legal issues arise the University Solicitor will be consulted. The University Solicitor shares information regarding Wills and bequest agreements with Deakin Advancement  and vice versa.

Bequest of property

(18) Disposition of bequest of property will be decided by the Chief Advancement Officer in consultation with the beneficiary and University policy and procedures relevant to the kind of property bequeathed.

Refusal or return of bequests

(19) The University reserves the right to refuse or return a bequest. All bequests must be acceptable under the University's Gifts and Sponsorships Policy and meet the requirements of the Gifts and Sponsorships Procedure. The Chief Advancement Officer will resolve any question of adequacy or appropriateness of a bequest and bears ultimate responsibility for the authority to accept or decline a bequest.

Contested bequests

(20) The University will convene a contested bequests committee to consider the action to be taken in the event of a disputed Will. The committee will comprise:

  1. Chief Advancement Officer
  2. Chief Financial Officer or their nominee
  3. University Solicitor or their nominee
  4. other members as determined by the Chief Advancement Officer.
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Section 6 - Definitions

(21) For the purposes of this Procedure:

  1. Beneficiary: the area that will receive the benefits from a gift or sponsorship.
  2. Bequest: money, property or other assets bequeathed by Will.
  3. Endowment: a gift made with the intention that the funds are invested to support the Beneficiary from investment income.
  4. Prospect Manager: a person, usually from the Deakin Advancement Donor Relations team, appointed by the Chief Advancement Officer to be responsible for the University's relationship with a particular donor or sponsor.
  5. Will: a legal declaration of a person's wishes regarding disbursement of their assets after death.