|More accurately known as a gift of the remainder interest in a personal residence or farm, the retained life estate allows a donor to make a gift of a personal residence while retaining the right to enjoy the property for the remainder of his or her life and/or the lives of others. The donor qualifies for an income tax charitable deduction at the time the gift is made, effectively removing the value of the property from the donor's estate without changing his or her lifestyle.
After the donor and Colby agree on a gift, the donor deeds the property to the College, retaining the right to enjoy the property for his or her life and the lives of any others agreed upon (spouse, children, etc.). The donor signs a contract acknowledging that he or she remains responsible for the real estate taxes and maintenance and upkeep of the property. Colby acknowledges receipt of the gift. Thereafter the donor may continue to live in the property, rent it, or allow others to use it. If the donor decides that a sale is desirable, Colby must be consulted. Assuming the College agrees, the sale moves forward, and the proceeds are divided based on the ratio of each party's interest in the property.
A retained life estate can be an attractive way of supporting Colby and of dealing with a home or cottage that one's heirs are not interested in owning.
Allen F. Langhorne '50, P'78, and Nancy Langhorne P'78 made a gift with a retained life interest in the property to support a scholarship fund. Dr. Allen Langhorne fondly remembered his Colby days, including time spent in the classroom with favorite professors Robert Pullen and Alfred Chapman, chatting with his fraternity brothers, or building the original Colby ski jump with his friends from the ski team. Allen was a loyal supporter of Colby and believed his life was vastly improved as a result of his having attended.
Allen came to Colby from the U.S. Navy in 1946 and majored in business administration. Following graduation he took a job on Wall Street, but after working for a few years he decided to go into medicine. He took science courses at Tufts and Boston universities and then attended New York Medical College. Early in his career Allen moved with his wife, Nancy, to Camden, Maine, where Allen practiced family medicine and the couple raised their four children. Although Allen retired in 1976, many people in that coastal community still fondly remember their visits with this kind and gentle man.
Allen admired President J. Seelye Bixler. Years after graduation he was reminded of Bixler's concern for each student when, upon leaving a football game, the former president touched Allen on the shoulder and called him by name, remarking how nice it was to see him again.
Allen believed Colby is a far better school now than in his day and realized there are many students who need help with educational expenses. In 2007 Allen and Nancy created the Allen F. Langhorne Scholarship Fund to provide a quality education for those who would not otherwise be able to attend. The Langhornes made a gift of real estate with a life interest that allowed the them to deed their property to Colby and receive a charitable deduction on their income taxes, while retaining the right to live in and enjoy their home for the rest of their lives.
The Langhornes have four children: Rachel Langhorne Grogan '78, Laura Currier, Tamara Archer, and William Langhorne. Allen passed away in July 2009, but Nancy continues to spend summers in Maine.