By Bill Burmeister- Michigan Church Extension Fund

Have you ever considered including those ministries most important to you in your Estate Plan? There are many ways to remember ministries in your plan, only a few of which involve any expense or professional fees. You may wish to consider one of the following options:

  1. Amend an existing Insurance Policy to add Your Favorite Ministry or Charity as an additional beneficiary, or simply purchase a new one for their benefit.
  2. Visit your personnel office and ask to amend your group life insurance policy or retirement plan to add Your Favorite Ministry or Charity as one of your beneficiaries.
  3. Instruct your lawyer to prepare a simple, inexpensive codicil to your existing Will or Revocable Living Trust, creating a bequest for your favorite ministry or charity.
  4. If you are over 65 and disappointed with the income you are receiving from your long term stocks or your certificates of deposit, consider the benefits of placing some of your assets in the Charitable Gift Annuity. Most likely, your lifetime income would increase. In addition, you would avoid capital gain taxes and receive a current income tax deduction for a portion of the gift. After your death, the remaining principal would be given to the ministry or charity that you designate.
  5. Deed your house to your favorite ministry or charity and continue to live in it. Your income tax savings from the gift may cover the legal costs.
  6. Leave written or verbal instructions for your surviving spouse to include your favorite ministry or charity when redrawing his or her will.
  7. If you have a sizable estate, you may consider a Charitable Remainder Trust that will pay a lifetime annual income to both of you, provide an income stream for a period of years to your children or grandchildren, before providing a significant gift to your favorite ministry or charity. The Charitable Trust will create a current charitable tax deduction for you.

There are many ways to benefit your favorite ministry or charity through planned gifts, some of which will provide you with positive benefits during your lifetime, reduce the amount of taxes that may be paid, and support the institutions that are most important to you.

This document is provided to assist you in your estate planning process and is not meant to offer financial or legal advice. Please contact your Attorney or Financial Advisor to obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to your particular circumstances.