Giving to HSS

Dr. Leon Root: A Lifetime at HSS Inspires a Planned Gift

Dr. Leon RootInspired by his extraordinary experiences at Hospital for Special Surgery as a fellow in 1961, Dr. Root became a member of the HSS medical staff in 1967 and has devoted his medical career to helping as many patients as possible benefit from the outstanding level of care provided by HSS.

Dr. Root's work at Special Surgery is defined by his unwavering dedication to build on the Hospital's history of excellence in teaching, research, and patient care. "Our traditions are very important. Who we are, what we are, and what we've done," says Dr. Root. "When you come to work here, you honor those traditions, and it's our job to make sure that our message goes forth."

In addition to the numerous transformative programs Dr. Root has established, and the countless patients whose lives he has changed over his 47-year-career at HSS, Dr. Root became a charter member of The Wilson Society, Special Surgery's legacy society, when he made a bequest to the Hospital in his will in 1998. Dr. Root's commitment to the future of HSS will help to ensure that the Hospital continues to educate residents, fellows and staff, conduct research, and provide musculoskeletal care at the highest level.

"Special Surgery has given me the opportunity to do all the things that I've wanted to achieve in medicine," says Dr. Root. "HSS has supported me in so many different ways, and a bequest is my way of helping to support this great institution."

At HSS, Dr. Root established the first osteogenesis imperfect ("brittle bone disease") clinic in New York City with pathologist Dr. Peter Bullough, served as the Hospital's first Chief of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery for 25 years, elevated Special Surgery's cerebral palsy clinic to national prominence, and established the Leon Root, MD, Pediatric Outreach Program to provide free musculoskeletal screenings to medically underserved children in New York City. Since the Program's inception, the screening team has examined over 27,000 children and referred more than 5,000 for primary or musculoskeletal care.

Bequests like Dr. Root's and other planned gifts help support the Hospital's efforts in educating residents and fellows, conducting innovative research, and providing world-leading patient care at the Hospital and to the community. Planned gifts have created research chairs, enabled medical breakthroughs, and supported general funds, ultimately contributing to the unique, innovative and compassionate atmosphere that is HSS.

"This is a very special hospital," Dr. Root observes. "Everybody takes pride in being here; everybody wants to do the best they can. We're going to give you the best care that we can give you."

Dr. Root, his fellow physicians, and all of the staff at Special Surgery are integral to creating the exceptional patient experience that only we can provide. Dr. Root's commitment to the future HSS will help to ensure that patients will continue to receive personalized musculoskeletal care at Special Surgery for years to come.

"To come back to HSS and stay here is one of those wonderful decisions that changed my life for the better," reflects Dr. Root. "This is my home away from home."


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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Hospital for Special Surgery 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 Hospital for Special Surgery, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, 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 HSS 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 HSS 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 HSS 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 HSS where you agree to make a gift to HSS 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.

A codicil is a document that is used to make changes to a will that has already been created.

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