Erik ’64, USMC (Ret.) and Christy Woods Support Naval Academy with Charitable Remainder Unitrust

Erik Woods and Christy WoodsWhen Erik Woods '64, USMC (Ret.) left active duty in 1970, an executive recruiter set him up with interviews with nine Fortune 500 companies in a single day in New York City. He received offers from all nine, accepting a position with Mobil's Chemical Plastics Division.

That opportunity launched a successful 40-plus year career in plastics and packaging sales and consulting that continues today. Woods is confident his Naval Academy education played a large part in setting him apart from his peers in the job market.

"Those of us graduating from the Academy were thrust into leadership at a very young age, rather than followership," said Woods, a New Jersey native who lives with his wife, Christy, in Kingwood, TX, a suburb of Houston. "Those who went straight into industry really had to learn to lead by coming up through the ranks. I received an excellent education at the Naval Academy, one I didn't even have to pay for. I couldn't have had those experiences anywhere else. And while the 12 years I spent in the Academy and in the Marine Corps—I was an enlisted Marine before going to the Naval Academy Prep School and then the Academy—seemed like a huge chunk of my life then, looking back on it in my ‘70s, it's nothing."

That gratitude has inspired Woods and his wife, Christy, to include the Academy in their estate plan through a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT), which they established with the Naval Academy Foundation in 2002. The Foundation serves as trustee, investing the assets and filing the required tax returns on the Woods' behalf during their lifetimes. After their deaths, Foundation assumes unrestricted use of the remainder of the trust.

It's an arrangement that benefits both the Foundation and the Woods family. "This is a good way of making sure we have some income coming in our later years," said Woods, who has a daughter and two granddaughters, all grown. "We have other resources to leave to our heirs and the ability to give to the Academy. I try to diversify everything, including our estate. This trust made sense to me."

The CRUT is just one way the Woods family has shown its support for the Academy in the years since Woods' graduation, service in Vietnam and time as an instructor at the Naval Air Technical Training Center. He has served as a Blue and Gold officer, helping to recruit promising young men and women to attend the Academy, president of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and a trustee of the Alumni Association. He is also a charter donor of President's Circle, the Naval Academy Foundation's flagship leadership giving society.

"Back then, we took the Naval Academy experience so much for granted," he said. "But I don't know a single person I graduated with who regrets their decision. Attending the Naval Academy is the most important thing I've ever done."


© United States Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the United States Naval Academy Foundation 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 the United States Naval Academy Foundation, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 274 Wood Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21402, 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 the Naval Academy Foundation 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, 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 potential 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 the Naval Academy Foundation as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 the Naval Academy Foundation 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 the Naval Academy Foundation where you agree to make a gift to the Naval Academy Foundation 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.

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