WATERBURY, Conn. – After World War II and his return from military service, Raphael Schain was drafted into another combat, the fight against multiple sclerosis. Although he would eventually lose his battle with the formidable foe, because of good stewardship and careful planning he positioned others to wage war against the disease well after his departure.
Raphael served from 1943 to 1946 in what can be considered the statutory forerunner of the United States Air Force, the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Not long after being honorably discharged, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease that more than 6,000 Connecticut residents also battle. Despite his illness, Raphael went on to marry and start a career as a tax examiner for the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. He and his bride, Natalie, settled in Waterbury and soon were parents of three children.
The family’s bread winner, Raphael, also operated his own income tax practice, working long hours after his day job.
“At times his fight with MS was difficult and arduous,” said his son, Norman, a certified public accountant in Prospect. “But I never once heard him complain. He was a trooper in every sense.”
Raphael’s resolve never wavered. He was determined to do what he could to make a difference. Throughout his struggle with the disease, he and Natalie supported the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter with their time and resources. As it turns out, his support and legacy would continue long after his retirement in 1973 and then eventual passing.
“In 1998 my parents started a charitable remainder unitrust,” explained Norman, trustee of the fund. “Over the next several years, my parents collected income from the trust. After they both passed away, the remaining funds were bequeathed to their favorite non-profits, including, among others, the National MS Society and several Jewish charities dear to their hearts.”
In all, the trust is benefiting 12 charities. In June, the Hartford-based National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, received $30,345 from the trust established by Raphael and Natalie.
“This gift is truly astonishing,” said Lisa Gerrol, president of the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter. “Raphael and Natalie were forward thinking, preparing not only for their future but for the future of others. Their prudent planning and gracious attitudes have ensured their legacy remains for years to come.”
The gift will help support scientific research as well as provide for local programs and services offered by the Connecticut Chapter to those in the state living with MS.
“A charitable remainder unitrust is a wonderful method for providing substantial contributions,” said Norman, who also teaches Hebrew to youth at his synagogue in West Hartford. “And, there are benefits for the donor too. This type of trust can be a valuable part of any estate plan.”
Charitable remainder unitrust funds provide income to the donor and, later, a donation to the charity or charities. Donors receive an income tax reduction calculated at the present value of the amount funded. The donor also receives a stream of income using a predetermined rate of return, such as 5 percent which is multiplied by the market value of the assets at the beginning of each year. Donors list the charity or charities, which, upon the donor’s death, will receive the residual amount left in the trust.
Such a trust can be beneficial in instances where a married couple has no children and intends to leave a sizable bequest to charity or when a married couple has children, who are already well provided for under the couple’s will.
“The trustee of the charitable remainder unitrust should ensure that the assets of the trust are properly invested to provide sufficient liquidity for the income payments to be made to the donor and eventual beneficiaries,” said Norman. “This would therefore call for a balanced approach taking into account the age of the donor when they make their initial contribution and life expectancy throughout the period the trust is operating. In my own case, I am very grateful for the results of my own family’s charitable remainder unitrust. It gives me great pleasure to see my parents’ philanthropic mission being carried out to fruition. I am so pleased these funds will be used to help so many in need. ”
To learn more about multiple sclerosis, its effects and how planned giving can assist people living with MS, visit www.ctfightsMS.org.