Editor’s note: Ted Spak passed away in January 2016.

Theodore “Ted” Spak’s connection with Northwestern dates back to 1950, when he enrolled in the College of Commerce. The Chicago native earned his undergraduate degree in just over three years before attending Northwestern’s School of Law.

While Ted remembers his days on the Evanston campus fondly, he credits the law school with teaching him “not just how to interpret the law, but more importantly, how to think.” Today, Ted advises students to consider a legal education as a way to sharpen their critical thinking skills in preparation for a range of career opportunities.

A loyal supporter of the Law School Annual Fund, Ted established the Joseph and Sophie Spak Scholarship Fund at the Law School in 1995 to honor his parents. This year, he included the law school in his estate plans so the Joseph and Sophie Spak Scholarship will support deserving Northwestern Law students in perpetuity.

Ted credits his parents—and his mother in particular—for insisting that he and his siblings pursue higher education despite the family’s limited resources. Through his gift, Ted celebrates the legacy of his parents and supports the institution that helped him achieve success—first practicing as a tax attorney and CPA and later leading a public insurance adjusting firm.

Ted, whose granddaughter, Michelle ’02, ’05 JD, is also a double Northwestern alumna, encourages others to consider supporting Northwestern Law through planned giving. “I am proud of the education that I have received and am honored to help others as Northwestern initially helped me,” says Ted.

Alumni and friends of Northwestern can choose to bequeath a specific amount, a percentage of one’s estate, or a portion of the residual amount left in the estate after all other specific distributions have been made. Many donors are comforted knowing that these estate commitments can be changed if their circumstances should change.

Interested in supporting Northwestern students with a gift in your estate? Contact us today at 800-826-6709 or giftplanning@northwestern.edu.

Want to Learn More?

In an effort to keep all of our supporters notified of current issues involving estate planning and planned giving, we are offering you the opportunity to subscribe to our eNewsletter and Northwestern Matters, our print newsletter. Fill out the form below and stay informed on featured articles and the latest planned giving trends.

I would like to receive the eNewsletter.

I would like to receive the quarterly print newsletter, Northwestern Matters.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Northwestern a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Northwestern, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 633 Clark Street, Evanston, Illinois 60208, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Northwestern or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Northwestern as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Northwestern as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Northwestern where you agree to make a gift to Northwestern and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.