(Part 3 of 5)
Timothy 6:7. -“For we brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing of it.”
Wills are mentioned in the Book of Common Prayer, page 445 – “The Minister of the Congregation is directed to instruct the people, from time to time, about the duty of Christian parents to make prudent provision for the well-being of their families, and of all persons to make will..”
Some families have already planned to use their wills to support St. George’s! We created the 1849 Society honoring eight families several years ago who had already remembered St. George’s in their wills. This is a way to acknowledge and recognize a person’s gift and to encourage them “to spread the word” on the benefits of leaving the church a gift.
Funds for the Church are a precious commodity in this unpredictable society. We may be increasingly dependent on planned gifts for supporting parts of our long term mission in the future.
Leaving gifts in wills and trusts is one of the easiest ways to support the church. You give nothing up now and your decision for a bequest can be changed prior to death. A bequest is a special gift made to St. George’s through your will that can offer several benefits:
- Charitable gifts in your will are 100 percent deductible for estate tax purposes.
- A charitable bequest could reduce or eliminate estate taxes.
- Supporters can often make larger gifts through their will than are possible with current income.
Beyond the dollars, this is a special act that extends your love of St. George’s past your lifetime. It’s a way to unite your entire family around the church even if they don’t attend regularly.
You can easily add a gift in your existing will. All you need is a codicil, a legal term for an addition to a will. It references a specific section of the Will, revokes it and substitutes a new section. You lawyer can draw up one or in this digital age, make the changes and print another copy of the will.
Of course this assumes you have a will! With a will you create your own plan for what happens after your death. If you don’t have one then you are under the “government plan.” If you die without a will, the court will appoint an administrator. The administrator will inventory and collect your property, pay any debts and taxes owed, and distribute any remaining property according to Virginia law. The distributions may not fit into your desires. Each of these steps takes time and money, and the expenses will be reimbursed out of your estate.
With a will you are open to possibilities for donations:
- You can gift a specific dollar amount.
2. You can gift a percentage of your estate off the top or a gift from the balance or the residue of your estate. What percent? 1% to 5% would be one answer. On a $500,000 estate that would be between $5,000 and $25,000. You need to factor other entities to which to donate. You could relate the gift to funding an activity over several years. Using this $500,000 estate you could be more generous and donate 10% and fund the Table for about a year.
3. You can make a beneficiary designation of certain assets, such as real estate, a savings account, stock, or life insurance policy. You keep the benefits of these assets during your lifetime but pass them on at death. To arrange this, you contact the holder of the assets and request the appropriate “beneficiary designation” or “payable on death” form.
Lent is all about spiritual practices. One practice you should do in relationship to your will is reviewing it after so many years and especially when there is a change in your family – a new baby, a death of someone that had already been written into the will, changes in marriage partners, etc. How has your wealth changed? Do gifts need to be added or changed?
I am ending these articles with a question for you – If you have written St. George’s into your will, please let me know? If you haven’t, what is holding you back? Do you need a suggestion for a lawyer to do this? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org. I will pick the best answer or if there are too many, a random one that is complete. The winner gets a $5 Hyperion card to “have one on me.”