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John and Lois Shelly
John and Lois Shelly

John and Lois Shelly faced a dilemma experienced by many older couples. They were concerned that their son, who lives in Montana, would someday be left with the disposition of their home, and they hoped to spare him this difficulty. The Shellys were able to achieve that goal — and much more — with a retained life estate gift to the Toledo Community Foundation.

The original Shelly plan was to sell their beautiful, custom-built villa and move to a senior community in the area. The villa had been on the market for six months when a new solution presented itself.

“I was paging through the Foundation newsletter last summer when the headline, ‘Give Property While Continuing to Enjoy its Use’ jumped out at me,” said John. “We established two funds with the Foundation in 1999, including a legacy fund that had not yet been capitalized. When we saw that we could gift our home and still live in it, we thought this might work for us.”

The Shellys’ attorney, Stephen Keller, helped coordinate their donation with Foundation staff. “A retained life estate gift is sometimes also helpful for tax reasons,” Keller observed, “but this need not be the primary concern.”

John and Lois agree. “Dealing with the house isn’t ultimately the main reason for our gift. We’re like so many in Toledo — we’ve had a good life here, and we want to leave something to this place that has given so much to us. The Foundation knows the community’s needs, and they are helping us to meet them.”

For assistance with simple estate planning, information about current or deferred giving, or to join our Legacy Society, please contact our Philanthropic Services Department at 419.241.5049.

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