By designating the church as a beneficiary, your legacy gift will continue your support of the church after your death.
Bequest in Will
Defer a gift until after your lifetime by naming your church or favored cause in your will. Benefits include not only peace of mind and knowing that your plans are in place but also a donation exempt from federal estate taxes.
There are several ways to include charitable giving through your will:
- A fixed amount – Your will can state a specific amount which you would like to be given to your church or other cause of the Church following your death.
- A specific item or some designated property – Your will can direct that specific real or personal property be given to your church following your death
- A percentage of your estate – For many persons it may be better to designate a percentage of your estate rather than a specific dollar amount. That percentage will then grow or shrink in the same proportion as your entire estate.
- A residual bequest – After all other bequests are granted, the residual (what remains) can be left to your church. The residual might also be left to your church in addition to a specific bequest named earlier in the will.
*See the Downloadable Resources section below for more information.
Retirement Plan Assets
Avoid the twofold taxation on retirement plan assets by naming your church or favored cause as beneficiary of all or part of the remaining assets after your lifetime. By doing this, you avoid heavily taxed gifts to heirs. The charitable gift thus comes from the remainder in the plan following the death of the donor and/or all other named beneficiaries.
Make a large gift with little cost to yourself by giving an old or new life insurance policy with your church or favorite Methodist charity named as beneficiary. Your benefits are a current income tax deduction and possible future deductions.
Here are some ways you can gift your life insurance to your church:
- Gifts of an existing life insurance policy that is no longer needed. The donor is entitled to a tax deduction for the replacement cost of the policy or the amount of the premiums if due
- If the needs of other beneficiaries will be met in other ways, make your church the owner and beneficiary. If you do this, you may receive a significant income tax deduction and future premiums you pay may also qualify for an income tax deduction
- Name the church as a secondary or back-up beneficiary of a life insurance policy or even your retirement plans in case other beneficiaries named are deceased at the time of your death
- Consider taking out a new life insurance policy to benefit your church. When you name your church as owner and beneficiary, all premiums you pay will be considered tax deductible contributions. The death benefit will be paid to your church and could create a significant endowment for a cause of your church you have selected.
- Assign the dividends of the policy to the church. The dividends become tax deductible contributions to the church
- Use a life insurance policy to guarantee a charitable pledge
- Life insurance can be used to fund future life income arrangement. Life insurance proceeds can fund a trust which will in turn provide future income for a family member with the trust remainder going to the church after a specified number of years or at the death of the trust’s income beneficiary.
- Wills and Estate Planning Brochure
- Wills and Estate Planning Checklist
- Wills and Estate Planning Kit
- Wills & Estate Plan Organizer
- Life Insurance one-sheet (Coming Soon)
- Giving through an IRA
Please feel free to download, print, and distribute Foundation resources (without altering them in any way) that will help your United Methodist church or ministry.