A bequest is a gift made in a will or in a living trust. Bequests can be made in the form of a specific gift of cash or property, or as a percentage of the remainder of an estate or trust.

The language in a bequest should specifically name the University by its legal title – “The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York” – and should direct the gift to the Mailman School of Public Health. It is best to have both the designation and the language reviewed in advance by the Mailman School’s Office of Institutional Advancement so as to avoid any potential difficulties for the executor of the will.

Should you wish to support a particular department, program or purpose within the Mailman School, you may clearly state so. The full amount of the bequest is usually deductible for estate tax purposes.

The University’s counsel has approved the following language as an effective bequest:

“I give and bequeath to The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, for the Mailman School of Public Health [the amount of $________] or [__% of my estate or trust], to support _____________________ (e.g., research or education or fellowships).”

Tip: It is not necessary to rewrite the entire will in order to name an additional beneficiary. A simple codicil can often accomplish the same objective.

For additional information about making a bequest, please contact:

Office of Development and Alumni Relations
msphgive [at]