This website is best viewed using Chrome or Firefox.

Favorites ()
Spring time on campus is beautiful with trees in bloom

Your St. Thomas Legacy

Planned Giving Newsletter, Spring 2019

  • 2019 Tax Checklist
  • Smart Strategies for Employer Stock
  • Legacy Leaders
  • Beyond Beneficiary Designations


Congratulations, you made it through tax-filing season! We hope that you were able to navigate through the new tax-law changes smoothly. If you experienced some surprises as you finalized your return, this summer would be a great time to consult with your tax professional or financial advisor on how to mitigate taxes for 2019 and beyond.

To help, we have created a tax-planning checklist that highlights dozens of common strategies for individual taxpayers and business owners, such as:

  • “bunching” charitable/medical deductions
  • maximizing retirement contributions/distributions
  • accessing the 20% qualified business deduction
  • stock-option planning, and more

I encourage you to share this checklist with your professionals to begin exploring ways to manage your future taxes. The checklist is available on our website or by contacting me at

The document provides hyperlinks to some of the topics, should you want to learn more. Where applicable, it also highlights tax-planning strategies that can incorporate charitable giving. I would be happy to talk with you and your professionals on how a gift to St. Thomas could help you move one of these tax-planning strategies forward, while benefiting St. Thomas students at the same time.

Jason Watt, J.D.
Director of Planned Giving


Jason Watt J.D. C.P.A.

Director of Planned Giving
Jason Watt is the director of Planned Giving
Phone Number
(651) 962-6945

Be a difference-maker.

Did you know that a scholarship of $6,000 can make the difference between a highly qualified student choosing St. Thomas over another school?

Planning on Retiring Soon?

Consider tax-wise strategies for your employer stock

You’ve worked and saved all your life, and that Baltic cruise or fishing boat at the cabin is calling your name. So, of course you want to make the most of your retirement dollars. Did you know that if you own employer stock within a 401K, and that stock has appreciated, there is a strategy that could significantly reduce the taxes you will have to pay on that income?

It’s called “net unrealized appreciation,” and it allows some retirees to take advantage of a more favorable tax rate. When you begin to receive payments from a 401K, they are taxed as ordinary income, which typically is taxed at a higher rate than capital-gains income, even if the income is generated from the sale of employer stock. The net unrealized appreciation strategy allows individuals age 59½ or older (or age 55, if retired) to re-characterize this income from ordinary income to capital-gains income, which can reduce your tax liability.

To begin the process, you must contact your 401K plan administrator and request that the employer stock be transferred into your name as a lump-sum payment. In the tax year in which the transfer occurs, you will need to recognize as ordinary income only the portion of the stock that is considered your tax basis. You will then recognize the built-in gain as capital-gains income, but not until the year in which the stock is sold.

Save even more with a charitable gift annuity or trust

You can benefit even further by transferring the employer stock into a charitable remainder trust or gift annuity at St. Thomas, which could then sell the stock without having to pay capital-gains tax. You would receive a charitable deduction and payments from the trust or annuity for the rest of your life, we well as benefit St. Thomas students with the remainder of the funds. You would still need to pay ordinary income tax on the tax basis of the stock, but the charitable deduction can be used to offset that taxable income. It’s a useful strategy that can achieve both your retirement and charitable goals.

If you would like to learn more about the net unrealized appreciation strategy, please contact Jason Watt at (651) 962-6945.

Betty and Herb ’48 Mischke with grandson Jacob Mischke, now a University of St. Thomas student.

Legacy Leaders: Betty and Herb ’48 Mischke with grandson Jacob Mischke '19

Support for St. Thomas is a Family Legacy

Herb Mischke ’48 would want to be remembered as someone with a deep love and respect for St. Thomas, particularly its combination of Catholic identity and academic excellence, according to his son, Mark Mischke ’81.

“My dad benefited tremendously from his time here, and felt that this full educational experience was so important for life. He was committed to seeing the institution thrive,” said Mark.

By taking courses over the summer, Herb graduated from St. Thomas in three years, at age 20. He immediately began his career as a financial adviser, and remained involved in the business until his death in 2017 at age 89.

He devoted countless hours to St. Thomas as a member of the Board of Trustees and various committees. He and his wife, Betty, generously supported scholarships during their lifetimes, and left their legacy with two estate gifts for that purpose.

Herb understood early that there would be a great demand and need for scholarship assistance, and he made plans to help provide the opportunity of a St. Thomas education for all who want to attend. He would wryly joke that students are “suffering from a case of ‘mal-tuition’,” recalls Mark.

Mark and his wife, Linda, are continuing the family tradition as members of the Finn Legacy Society. Like his father, Mark believes wholeheartedly in “the winning combination” of Catholic education and academic excellence. He points to his own son, Jacob ’19, a third-generation Tommie with a focus on entrepreneurship and Catholic studies.

“St. Thomas provides the total package,” said Mark. “And we want to support that.”


A free tool to guide your estate-planning process

Naming an individual or a charity as the beneficiary of an account or policy is a great way to make sure that the people and causes you care about are taken care of after you pass. However, if it’s time to create or review your will, we have a free, confidential online tool to help you get started. This step-by-step guide is password-protected, so only you can view the information entered. You can access the tool on our website:

If you prefer to work on paper, our Planning Your Legacy guide will walk you through the steps. Request your free copy via email or phone, or by visiting our website.


Some alumni and friends are in the position to make an impact at St. Thomas during their lifetimes. For many, however, their greatest impact is through the legacy they leave behind. Everyone who provides for the future of St. Thomas through estate planning or a life-income gift is welcomed into the Finn Legacy Society. Contact the Planned Giving staff for more information.


Jennifer Bennett

Program Manager
Jennifer Bennett
Phone Number
(651) 962-6944