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A Rewarding Opportunity

The first floor of the Law School’s new 700 20th Street building is named in honor of Darrell L. Dreher, JD ’73.

Upon entering the beautifully renovated new Law School building at 700 20th Street—an 1890s townhouse that is the anchor of the GW Law complex—visitors are likely to take in the impressive first floor, named in honor of Darrell L. Dreher, JD ’73.

A devoted Law School alumnus, Dreher pledged $1 million toward the cost of the new facility. For Dreher, it was a simple decision. “I am very grateful to have received my legal education at GW and feel that it’s appropriate to pay the Law School back.

I received a very solid grounding in legal principles and business law at GW, which has held me in good stead through the years. It’s natural for me to want to support the Law School, because I feel that it’s important to remember your roots and to support those institutions that help you succeed in life.”

Dreher has enjoyed a successful legal career, culminating in the 1995 establishment of his banking and consumer finance law firm Dreher Langer & Tomkies in Columbus, Ohio. The 15-attorney firm represents banks, finance companies, federal savings institutions, retailers, and other creditors in establishing and maintaining nationwide consumer credit programs.

“If you have half a dozen credit cards in your wallet, there’s a good chance that we wrote the cardholder agreements and disclosures for several of them,” he says. “I like to view our firm’s mission as carrying out public policy by ensuring that our clients comply with all of the statutory requirements enacted by Congress, as well as 50 state legislatures.”

The idea of running his own small business, while continuing to practice law, held special appeal for Dreher. “I liked the idea of being able to tailor the way we provide legal services to our clients, and to serve as a counselor as well as an attorney,” he says. Dreher particularly enjoys the entrepreneurship of the firm, noting “it’s a perfect size—large enough to handle our clients’ legal problems, but small enough to have a very collegial atmosphere.”

Prior to founding the firm, Dreher headed up the financial institutions practice nationwide for the second largest firm in the country—Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue. “It was a great firm, but after 14 years, I felt that I had accomplished everything that I wanted to there and was ready for new challenges,” he says.

Throughout his busy career, Dreher has never forgotten his alma mater. In 1999, he set up an endowment at the Law School that assists night students who are supporting children. As a former GW Law night student, he vividly recalls the challenges of juggling home life, career, and law school. “When I entered GW, I had a wife and two daughters under the age of three, as well as a full-time job as a naval officer stationed in Washington,” he says. “One of the reasons I’ve always appreciated GW Law is that it makes it possible for people who work full-time to get a law degree at night.”

Dreher’s recent contribution to the Law School’s expansion underscores his belief in the importance of alumni giving something back. “I believe that alumni should do everything they can to support their universities,” he says. “It’s extremely gratifying for me to assist in the expansion and improvement of GW Law. It’s already a great law school, but it’s nice to be a part of making it even better.”

Lead Donors
700 Twentieth Street, NW

Darrell L. Dreher, JD ’73
Student Affairs and International Student Affairs Suite

The Hon. William P. Barr, JD ’77
Dean’s Suite

G. Franklin Rothwell, JD ’56
Dean’s Conference Room

Donald R. Campbell, JD ’55
Third Floor Conference Room

Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Dean’s Parlor and Blackburn, JD ’67
Reception Room

Theodore A. Levine, JD ’69
Amphitheater Classroom

Ira L. Sorkin, JD ’68
Associate Dean’s Office

Philip C. Stahl, JD ’74
Associate Dean’s Office

A. Sidney Katz, JD ’66
Admissions and Financial Aid Reception Area

John T. Schwieters, JD ’65
Student Affairs Reception Area

Stephen J. Davidson, JD ’73
Dean’s Reception Area

David S. Brown Jr., JD ’69
Faculty Office in honor of Jack H. Friedenthal

Gary C. Granoff, JD ’73,
Faculty Office BBA ’69

Seymour Herman, JD ’66
Faculty Office

Robert E. Mangels, JD ’70
Faculty Office

Naming Gift Opportunities Still Available
700 Twentieth Street, NW

Entire Building $2,500,000
Conference Room Fourth Floor $100,000
Dean’s Office Second Floor $75,000
Associate and Assistant Deans Offices
First and Second Floors
Faculty and Administrative Offices $25,000

Other Law School Locations:

Full Faculty Meeting Room
Fifth Floor, Burns Law Library
Faculty Terrace $100,000
Faculty Conference/ Seminar Room $75,000
Amphitheater Classrooms
- Lerner Hall
- Stuart Hal
- Lerner Hall
- Stuart Hall
- Stockton Hall

Retirement Plan Assets: Increasing Your Legacy, Decreasing Your Tax

Retirement plan assets are potentially exposed to a harsh multipronged tax system: federal income taxes, federal estate taxes, state income taxes and state death taxes. Some people who fail to plan carefully find that these combined taxes can take as much as 70 percent of their retirement accumulation—hardly the reward they expected from years of hard work and sacrifice. Here’s a brief overview of how these taxes can affect your retirement account, and what you can do to stop the tax erosion of your retirement assets.

How Much of Your Retirement Assets Will Be Subject to Income Taxes?
Retirement plan distributions generally are taxable as ordinary income in the year received. In 2002, the marginal tax rate can be as high as 38.6 percent of ordinary income. If your state and/or locality levies an income tax, the distribution may also be subject to these taxes, which could add several more percentage points to the total rate of income-tax depletion. Moreover, “premature” distributions, taken during one’s lifetime, may trigger a 10 percent penalty tax in addition to the regular income tax. A distribution generally is premature if taken before age 59 1/2 unless certain exceptions apply.

How Much of Your Retirement Assets Will Be Subject to Death Taxes?
If a retirement plan participant has assets remaining in the plan at death and bequeaths them to individual heirs other than a spouse, the remaining accumulation at death will be subject to federal estate taxation. The estate tax brackets start at 41 percent on taxable estates over $1,000,000 (in 2002) and rise quickly to 50 percent on taxable estates over $2.5 million (in 2002).
Let’s suppose you are intending to make a gift to The George Washington University Law School. If you could accomplish this goal and could avoid this “double taxation” on retirement plan assets, would you be interested? If so, please read on.

Why You Need To Review Your Assets
The point that we want to underscore in this article is that all assets are not treated the same way for federal tax purposes. The upshot is that it often makes more sense to:

  • Fulfill family bequests with assets that do not carry “double-taxed” burdens to heirs, and
  • Use “double-taxed” items, such as retirement plan assets and IRAs, to make bequests to qualified charitable organizations such as The George Washington University Law School.

There are two valid and tax-wise situations, however, that should be considered if you are contemplating leaving retirement account to a family member.

If your surviving spouse is the beneficiary, the account would qualify for the marital deduction and escape all federal estate tax and state inheritance taxes as well in many states.

Children or other younger beneficiaries may be able to stretch out the distributions from the retirement account over many years and thus stretch out the payment of income taxes as well. Moreover, this allows tax-deferred growth of the retirement account to continue.

It is always prudent to consult your professional advisors about which planning option makes sense in your situation.

How to Learn More About Planning with Retirement Assets
The tax ramifications of retirement plan distributions are extremely complex and should not be undertaken without consulting your own professional tax advisors. We will be happy to help you explore generally how you can reduce taxes and leave more to your heirs and favorite charities with careful planning. It could be a very wise investment of your time. If you are interested in exploring this or other gift options, please contact:

Suzanne R. Spooner
Executive Director
Planned Giving Programs
The George Washington University
2129 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052

Why You Should See Your Financial Adviser Soon
The IRS has issued new minimum distribution rules that replace, and greatly simplify, the former methods for determining minimum annual distributions required from retirement accounts. The new rules make it easier to avoid tax penalties after you reach age 701/2 and begin to take required distributions from your IRA or other retirement account.

Under the old rules, a retirement account owner was essentially penalized for naming a charity as beneficiary of a retirement account because a charity does not have a life expectancy. Now, an IRA owner will be able to name a charitable beneficiary without shortening the payout period. More money will remain in the IRA and compound on a tax-deferred basis.

One strategy recommended by some advisers is to split the retirement account into one portion for family members and another portion for charity. Some account owners use part of their required annual distribution to purchase life insurance on themselves that replaces the portion of the account designated for charity. This strategy enables them to satisfy philanthropic motives without depriving family members of the full value of the account.

You need to find out from your financial advisor how you can benefit from these significant rule changes. You also need to see if these changes require adjustments in your Will so that you have a coordinated estate plan. Smart planning can help ensure that more of your assets go to your intended beneficiaries.

Heads Up! Charitable Rollover May Be Coming
As we go to press, legislation is pending before Congress that would allow tax-free rollovers from retirement accounts to charities, including the GW Law School, under some circumstances. If this happens, pay attention to the minimum age at which such rollovers would be permitted; it’s age 67 under the legislation as initially proposed. Also, make sure your particular kind of retirement account (IRA, 401(k), 403(b), etc.) is eligible for the rollover.

Arnold Weber— Easing the Burden for Future Law Students

Arnold Weber, JD’54, LLM’56, still remembers the ordeal of working full time to finance his education at The George Washington University Law School. It’s this memory that led him to create a gift that endows a scholarship for future law students. “I struggled to make it through law school, and I would like to provide help so others might have an easier road,” he says.

Weber grew up in Iowa and received his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in Wisconsin and his MA from Harvard. It was during the Korean War, when he was assigned to Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C., that he began attending GW Law School in the evening. After graduating, he worked as a federal lawyer, mainly with the Internal Revenue Service, for several years before accepting a position in San Francisco with the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. He later was employed as tax counsel for Southern Pacific, and then went into solo practice of law, which continues to this day.

While Weber practices law in San Francisco, he has turned part of his energy toward planning his own estate and assuring that his philanthropic gifts are made in a thoughtful and tax-wise fashion. For him, making the GW Law School a 50 percent beneficiary of an IRA account is a smart way to assure his law scholarship is created and that his heirs suffer relatively little from his tax-efficient planning.

Under current tax laws, estate and income taxes would claim almost three-quarters of his IRA assets if these monies were left to his heirs. By leaving these assets to the GW Law School and other universities, these schools will receive the full value of his IRA. “It makes much more sense for me” Weber says.

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