Be like Hal. – Following Hal Taussig’s Example in Estate Planning

Be like Hal. – Following Hal Taussig’s Example in Estate Planning

We wish you could be a fly on the wall at our board meetings – they are anything but Roberts-Rules events. Everything at this Foundation is unique, productive, and outside of any box I’ve ever known.

When Hal and Norma Taussig were with us, the board spent a fair amount of time on transition planning. These discussions were met not with heaviness, but always with amusement, because the conversations started like this:

Hal: “If I die……”

Norma interrupting: “IF you die!?” Then shaking her head at her crazy husband, “You mean, ‘WHEN you die!’”

Hal would smile, the board members would laugh, and the transition planning would proceed. Hal and Norma gave the board years of time to prepare for inheriting Untours, their beloved travel company.

Hal and Norma enjoying a visit at a ranch out west
PHOTO: Hal and Norma enjoying a visit at a ranch out west.

I did my first “transition planning” when my daughter was born 32 years ago. I surprised my lawyer with 12 single-spaced pages of text for that will. I had a lot to say about the care of my daughter – and my dog!

I completed my second will five years ago. It’s not nearly as long, but it’s just as thoughtful. The world needs lots of help, and I want to leave funds where I believe they can go the furthest. I don’t have coffers of money, which in some ways makes my choices all the more precious. The Untours Foundation is one of my recipients.

I know this is not a fun topic. It goes against our very culture. I, too, prefer the “if I die” scenario. But even if we can’t control that it’s really a “when,” we can control what our legacy and lasting effect will be. We can name and support those we believe in.

Hal Taussig was a sharer. Period. He gave his business profits to the Untours Foundation and also his car to a hitch hiker after learning that this lucky stranger needed a car to get to his job that wasn’t on a public transportation route. All the while, he was so content in his life with his “trusty steed” bike, one pair of shoes, tons of political t-shirts gifted to him, and not a whole lot more.

Once, the IRS audited Untours. It gave Untours a clean slate except it fined the business for not paying Hal a salary. It just didn’t believe that an owner wouldn’t take a salary; “Surely,” the IRS thought, “Hal was taking money under the table from this business.” So, the IRS fined the business $8,000 and made Hal take a salary of $1,000/month, which Hal signed over to the foundation. Yes, Hal was so “out of the box” that his actions were hard by many to believe.

Hal donated 100% of the profits of Untours to support the next generation of world-changing entrepreneurs through the Untours Foundation, helping over 300 businesses launch and grow. 

He was thoughtful and planned out in his giving including naming the foundation in his will – decades before his death – to inherit Untours. Following Hal’s lead of legacy planning, we have created “The Taussig Society.”

The Taussig Society is a home for those who, like Hal, leave a lasting gift to the Untours Foundation in support of entrepreneurs who are leaders in addressing poverty, injustice, and the climate crisis. Taussig Society members include the Untours Foundation in their estate planning. Taussig Society members include the Untours Foundation in their estate planning. For information about including the foundation in your estate planning, please visit the Taussig Society page.

May we all live long and healthy lives and improve this world now and later.

Warmly,

Elizabeth Killough, Co-CEO
elizabeth.k[email protected]
267-334-5680 or [email protected]

P.S. Ask about our Charitable Remainder Trust, which allows you to donate now – including appreciated stocks – and receive a tax deduction plus 5% interest annually on your gift for the rest of your life.

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