Leaving your Legacy


Leaving your Legacy: Why Jan Jessup decided to support the Museum with a bequest

Jan Jessup, longtime Museum Member and former Trustee of the Delaware Art Museum, has had a lifelong passion for art. This enthusiasm led her to briefly study fine art in college, but she quickly realized that her talents lay elsewhere. “I decided I would be a better arts patron than working artist,” she said.

Jan has remained true to this philosophy ever since. Over the years she has been an active Member in the Museum’s Director’s Circle, where she enjoys learning more about temporary exhibitions, such as 2013’s French Twist: Masterworks of Photography from Atget to Man Ray. “I love how varied the temporary exhibitions are,” Jan said. “I get to see collections locally that I may never see otherwise.”

Jan recently took her commitment to the Delaware Art Museum one step further by leaving a percentage of her estate to the Museum in her will. “It’s important to me to continue supporting the Museum even when I am no longer here to make a donation,” she said.

But considering a bequest wasn’t always on the top of Jan’s mind. “My father intended to make a bequest to an organization that he cared deeply about,” Jan said. “But when he passed away we discovered that his wishes were not in his will. The gift never got made because it wasn’t in writing.”

This eye-opening experience compelled Jan to ensure her will reflects her wishes. Jan acknowledges that estate planning can seem daunting or out of reach. “Estate planning can be intimidating. You hear about all these types of trusts and tax situations, but it is usually very simple,” she said. Jan now encourages others—particularly baby boomers like herself—to start thinking about their estate plans sooner rather than later. “Nobody knows what kind of hand they will be dealt in life,” she said. “It’s important to make your wishes known, which will simplify life for your children or heirs.”

She also stresses that there are tax advantages to setting up a trust, and that much of the costs to set up an estate are tax deductible. Talk to your financial planner or attorney about charitable giving through your estate to find out which method is right for you.

The Museum recognizes all estate gifts through the Helen Farr Sloan Legacy Society. For more information, please visit the Legacy Giving page under the support section at delart.org or contact Molly Giordano, Chief Operating Officer, at mgiordano@delart.org or 302.351.8515.