Patrons wishing to make a gift to their church are running into problems when they try to incorporate wishes into an estate plan. Luckily, there are some strong alternatives.
Legal Forms to Help Gift to a Church
Generally, an estate plan can utilize eight (8) different ways to make a gift to your Church. Unfortunately, each method or form can bring with it a different set of problems.
Estate Gifts versus Tithe or Tithing
I hope this doesn’t happen to your family, but entering an ICU or long term nursing care facility can really drain one’s assets. In my experience, identifying a specific cash donation within a will or trust is a poor plan. For one, nobody really knows how much we will have when we die.
Instead of adding an exclusive cash gift, I like the idea of designating a strict percentage. For example, I bequest five percent (5%)….to ___________. For some, the idea percentage is a set percentage called tithing.
Again, if we are lucky to die with assets, then contributing a specific percentage is easier to manage and is less likely to make life difficult for a Personal Representative.
Best and Worst Way to Gift to a Church
There isn’t a best way to make a gift to a church. If folks are able, then great. If they cannot, then that is okay too.
That said, there are a few methods of gift giving that I discourage.
The first method I discourage folks from making is the process of gifting their home. Quite frankly, very few churches want to manage real estate.
Personally, I like the idea of granting a Trustee an opportunity to sell a residence on behalf of a person and using the proceeds as desired. In other words, making it easy on a Church to accept a cash gift versus a home.
The second method I discharge folks from making is the process of making a church or a pastor an executor. Again, most folks would agree that a church is by our side for spiritual guidance versus the estate transfer process.
Thus, if gifting to a church is what a person desires, make the process easier by using a trust or will.
If you need help with this process, please contact me.