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Ray Paulsen

Ray and friends

Ray Paulsen has earned a number of friends over the years with his contagious smile and warm personality.

Ray Paulsen is lucky. He is lucky because, even as he experienced the pain of cancer and a succession of uncomfortable treatments, he lived a remarkable life.

"When they tell you that you've got cancer, that doesn't mean you're going to die," said Paulsen. "Those six letters are not the end of the world. It helps if you just keep going. Put it in the background and just live."

Paulsen has had cancer for 25 years. He'll tell you no one knows him better than Dr. Bob Niedringhaus, his oncologist who, until he semi-retired a year ago, he saw at least once a month.

"Everyone wants to live, but there are some people who do it better and with a little more grace," said Dr. Niedringhaus. "ray didn't let cancer run his life."

Paulsen and his wife Carmen, both private pilots, were diagnosed with cancer within a month of each other at their pilot physicals. Carmen was the love of Paulsen's life. Energetic and fearless, she excelled at everything she tried from stock car racing to gardening.

Throughout her battle with breast cancer, Paulsen said, she absolutely refused to complain. "Every morning she would get up, open the drapes and no matter what the weather-rain, snow or hail, she would say, ‘Well, it's another beautiful day.'"

Ray and Carmen

Ray and his wife Carmen riding horses in Montana

She had cancer for eight years and died at age 43. "In the 22 years we were married, we lived a better, more productive, more enjoyable life than 99 percent of the people out there."

Paulsen credits his son, who is also battling cancer, and daughter-in-law for helping him stay in his house."He has had seven surgeries and he still finds time to come up here and help the old man," said Paulsen. ray's daughter is also a survivor, having struggled with serious kidney and bladder ailments her whole life, and has proved all "life expectancy" estimates very wrong.

From Dr. Niedringhaus to neighbors and friends from church, he has found there are a lot of good people out there. "I am so grateful to so many people who just show up and help out."

Paulsen has found a way to give back. He set up a charitable gift annuity in 1998 when he first learned about the cancer research fund, and he has been giving every year since. "With research, I feel there's something around the corner that just needs a little nudge and it will help a lot of people."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Essentia Health Foundation 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, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Essentia Health Foundation [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose or for its ____________ program (i.e. Cancer, hospice, research, etc.)."

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 Essentia Health Foundation 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 Essentia Health Foundation 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 Essentia Health Foundation 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 Essentia Health Foundation where you agree to make a gift to Essentia Health Foundation 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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