Career-Driven Couple Looks Ahead with Planned Giving

Erik Novikoff and Judy PeatrowskyBoth in their 40s and committed to enjoying full lives without children — yet still aspiring to leave a positive mark on the world — married couple Judy Peatrowsky and Erik Novikoff knew they needed to plan ahead for their hard-earned money.

With their path to retirement already laid out, they knew that dollars and assets would still remain after they were gone.

"As an engineer, I'm always planning ahead for every contingency," Novikoff says. "I take that same look at my life and say, 'OK, I know I don't have any kids to leave things to, but I'm going to amass wealth because I'm a driven person. Since I have no one to leave that to, what's going to happen to all of that that I develop?'"

A friend inspired the Las Vegas couple to explore an option they hadn't considered before: Arranging to leave some of their estate to The Smith Center after they're both gone.

It was an option they embraced quickly.

"We're looking to provide our wealth and our legacy to something that's going to outlast generations," Novikoff says.

Preparing a Legacy

It might seem early for a career-driven couple to contemplate such foresighted financial matters — but in fact, this couple's generation is the fastest growing population in Planned Giving.

Planned Giving — charitable giving that involves more coordination than a cash donation — can take many forms, including donating assets such as art or real estate, or leaving a donation in a will or trust.

With an increasing number of couples like Peatrowsky and Novikoff who choose not to build a family, planned giving provides an option to still leave a piece of themselves behind.

"Our estate won't go to family, but it will go to something that we love," Novikoff says.

Keeping the Arts Alive

Planning to pass on some of their assets to The Smith Center was an easy choice for the couple.

Both avid lovers of the arts, they take in a wide range of performances throughout the year at The Smith Center, including Broadway productions, concerts at Cabaret Jazz and even one-man shows at Troesh Studio Theater.

They want community members to enjoy this resource as much as they do for years to come, Peatrowsky says.

"When I used to live in New York City, I would go to the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Ballet, and doing so meant going to different venues," she recalls. "The Smith Center has everything under one roof. I can come to the ballet, I can come to the philharmonic, I can see jazz."

The Right Fit

Opting to donate at the ends of their lives makes the most sense for their current status in life, Novikoff says.

"As a couple that was not born into wealth, but is the first generation trying to create their wealth, it's hard for us to start giving money right off the bat," he explains.

He had even once pondered becoming a professional performer himself before landing on a career with more job security, he adds.

By leaving their estate to The Smith Center as well as other charities, they hope to nurture performing arts careers for others, he says.

"It gives us the ability to make sure we know in the future, there's still going to be the performing arts," he says. "We just want to make sure it has a chance to still thrive."

Learn More

To learn about supporting The Smith Center with planned giving, contact The Encore Society at 702-749-2354 or


A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Smith Center a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to The Smith Center, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 361 Symphony Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to The Smith Center or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Smith Center as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to The Smith Center as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and The Smith Center where you agree to make a gift to The Smith Center and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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