As children mature, so do couple's estate plans
When their third child was born in 1997, Carolyn Sullivan Heinrich'89 and her husband, Kurt, decided it was time to prepare a will to specify their desires for guardianship of their children and their estate. Now, with their children 17-21 years old, they bring perspectives seasoned by two decades of living and careers to the process of updating their will.
Carolyn says that she and Kurt have entered probably the most expensive years of raising their children.
Their oldest daughter is a biochemistry/engineering major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, their son plans to enter college next fall, and their youngest daughter is just a year behind him. Even so, "Our financial picture is very different from when we did our first will, and we can make more informed decisions about our estate plans," says Carolyn.
After graduating from Beloit with majors in international relations and economics and management, Carolyn had a clear path in mind for her childhood goal to help others and improve their living conditions. She earned her master's and doctoral degrees in public policy studies from the University of Chicago, where her husband completed an MBA. He earned his bachelor's degree at UW-Madison majoring in chemical and metallurgical engineering and now works in engineering research.
In her career, Carolyn teaches and researches social welfare policy, labor force development, public management, performance management, and econometric methods for program evaluation. Since 2011 she has held the Sid Richardson Professorship in Public Affairs at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. She is also director of the school's Center for Health and Social Policy and an affiliated professor in the department of economics. Prior to joining the University of Texas she was Director of the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at UW-Madison, and an assistant professor at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
Carolyn's career has also involved working with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as UNICEF, the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program. These experiences have provided her invaluable insights into charitable work. "I often get a window into some of the very effective, smaller scale poverty reduction and development efforts, where your impact can be immediate," she says.
From her own experiences, she knows that Beloit College also provides direct impact in people's lives.
"For me, I felt like Beloit College really changed everything. Except for one teacher in my high school (in Waupun, Wisc.) I had no one who was pushing me to think about Beloit and the possibilities beyond there. I certainly didn't go off from high school thinking I'd get a Ph.D.," Carolyn says.
Besides the collegial relationships that continue with her favorite Beloit faculty, professors emeriti Lester McAllister, Emil Kreider, and Philip Straffin, Carolyn also is grateful for the financial assistance she received at Beloit. "I had to put myself through college, and I couldn't have done that without the scholarship, grant, and work study assistance I received, as well as the strong encouragement [my professors] provided."
As the Heinrichs revisit their estate plans in the coming months, they will be thinking about how their eventual bequests can make the greatest impact for the organizations they support. "Being in the education business and having had development responsibilities, I understand that the most helpful gifts are the most flexible in terms of their allowed uses," Carolyn says. "Given the importance of the financial support I received as a student at Beloit, I have a soft spot in my heart for student financial support."
To discuss how to incorporate your own soft spot for Beloit College into your will, trust document, or beneficiary designations, contact the Beloit College Gift Planning Office at 1-800-331-4943 or email@example.com