Estate Planning Is Topic of Alumni Seminars

Mark Nussbaum ’70 shared his expertise in estate planning during two informational seminars presented to an audience of Loomis Chaffee alumni via Zoom videoconference on March 16 and 18.

Director of Development Tim Struthers ’85 introduced Mark at both evening sessions and acknowledged Mark’s 25 years of experience and accomplished career as a certified financial planner based in La Jolla, California.   

Mark, whose four siblings are also Pelican alumni, serves on the 50th Reunion Committee for his class. He had intended to give his presentation during Reunion Weekend 2020, but the in-person gathering had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the school is still working out the rescheduling of 2020 and 2021 reunions, Mark offered to share his expertise via videoconference for all alumni.

“As a certified financial planner, this is what I call my missionary work,” Mark said at the start of each session. He pointed out that his presentation was intended as an educational tool and cautioned that any estate plan should be reviewed by a state-licensed attorney who specializes in estate planning.

The March 16 session, titled "Why do I need an estate plan?,” was designed for alumni 25 years of age and older and gave an overview of estate planning. According to Mark, even though most people don’t like to talk about their eventual demise, an estate plan helps make a difficult time much easier for loved ones left behind after a death in the family. An estate plan sets out clear guidelines for the distribution of assets after death in the most effective and efficient way, with an eye to limiting government estate tax exposure. It assures that individuals’ lifetime earnings are directed toward the people and entities most important to them.

The presentation defined such terms as “beneficiaries,” “asset titling,” “inventories,” “wills,” “durable power of attorney,” “power of attorney for healthcare,” “living will,” and “revocable living trust.” Mark also explained the kind of information someone should bring to a meeting with an estate planning attorney.

On March 18, Mark turned his focus to estate planning information for alumni aged 55 and older for his presentation, “I have a will. Now what?” Noting the importance of reviewing and updating an estate plan, especially during or after significant life changes such as a marriage, divorce, and birth of children or grandchildren, Mark revealed some of the ways a good estate plan sets out clear guidelines for the distribution of assets after a person’s death.

According to Mark, the most important questions to consider when setting up or revising one’s estate plan are: “What do I want my legacy to be? How do I want to be remembered? And who and what is important to me?”

At the end of both sessions, after Mark responded to questions from the audience, Associate Director of Development Heidi E.V. McCann ’93 shared information about the John Metcalf Taylor Society (JMT Society) and planned giving options and their benefits for those who wish to support education and leave a legacy at Loomis Chaffee.

According to Heidi, John Metcalf Taylor was a trustee in 1901 and the school’s first Chairman of the Board from 1904 until his death in 1918. He oversaw the key decisions that created the school. Today, Loomis Chaffee students have developed a tradition of rubbing John Metcalf Taylor’s nose on the bas relief sculpture by Evelyn Longman Batchelder outside Taylor Hall. The JMT Society currently has 665 members and was formally established in 1993 to honor alumni, parents, and friends who have remembered the school in their estate plans.

The informational sessions were sponsored by the John Metcalf Taylor Society and organized through the Alumni/Development Office. Questions about the JMT Society and planned giving at Loomis Chaffee may be directed to Heidi at or Tim at

Video recordings of both evening sessions are available to view on the Planned Giving page of the Loomis Chaffee website.