The Ministry of Planned Giving

The mission of St. Mary’s is to be a Spirit-led body of obedient servants committed to help all people experience the love and reconciliation of God. We will enable believers to reach their potential in Christ by embracing spiritual growth through worship, stewardship, Christian education, pastoral care, and evangelism.

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 wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses.

The Book of Common Prayer (page 445)
Within the Church, as in other institutions, people make charitable gifts at three levels: to annual appeals, to capital campaigns, and through planned or deferred gifts. Translated into “Church language,” this becomes ordinary, extraordinary, and ultimate giving.

Ordinary Giving is the regular, ongoing, and reliable annual gifts-tithes-and are typically given from a family’s income.
Extraordinary Giving is given in response to a special, capital campaign of the parish. This giving typically has a specific goal and clear understanding for which the money will be used. Pledges are usually paid in annual installments and may be made from income or appreciated securities. The most recent Extraordinary Giving campaign conducted at St. Mary’s was the WHERE IS YOUR HEART? campaign for our expanded Parish Hall.
Ultimate Giving – planned giving – is the ultimate form of Christian witness. Through planned giving, parishioners have an opportunity to leave a legacy of faith and resources simply by making plans so their property will benefit the people and institutions they love.

The Ministry of Planned Giving

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 1:1
This simple statement at the beginning of the Bible establishes once and for all the immutable relationship between ourselves and the world around us.

All that we are, all the we have, comes from God and will one day return to God.

Jesus often talked about our relationship to the “things” we possess. In Luke 12:13-21 Jesus is asked about dividing a family inheritance. He replies with a story. A rich man decides to build new barns to hold his bumper crop, then to “eat, drink and be merry.”

However, “God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

We are stewards of God’s bounty. Caretakers. For a brief period we are given time, energy and resources. What we do with these gifts ultimately defines the character of our life and the depth of our spiritual understanding.

Planned Giving is one expression of the wise use of the personal resources God has entrusted to us. This brochure summarizes the ways in which planned giving can be used to benefit the donor, the donor’s family, and St. Mary’s, now and for many years to come.

What is Planned Giving?

Planned Giving encompasses a variety of ways that gifts can be made to the church from accumulated resources.

It usually involves financial or estate planning; however, it is not reserved for the wealthy. Planned giving is a means by which anyone concerned with the wise use of his or her personal resources makes a considered choice about their ultimate disposition.

In general, planned gifts are made through (click on one, or scroll down to keep reading):

1. A Bequest in a Will
2. A Life Income Gift (such as pooled income fund, a charitable gift annuity, or a charitable remainder trust)
3. Life Insurance
4. A Life Estate (such as gift of a home, farm, or ranch)
5. Appreciated Property (such as real estate or securities)
Planned Giving establishes a way for a donor to provide for family members while remembering St. Mary’s, as well. It often enables the donor to provide more for his or her heirs and to make a larger gift than thought possible. It often reduces taxes.

Planned gifts can be designated for St. Mary’s general fund or for its endowment being established and authorized by the Vestry through this ministry.

Planned gifts are either outright gifts (such as appreciated securities, real property, personal property, etc.) or deferred gifts (charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, etc.).

1. A Bequest in a Will

Perhaps the easiest and the most common way of making a planned gift is through your will. Yet some 50 to 70 percent of all church members die without a will.

If you die without a will, the state will divide your assets among your spouse and children (regardless of their age); appoint an administrator that may cost the estate large fees; and appoint guardians for your minor children who may or may not have been your choice. The state makes no charitable contributions, and it will insure that your estate pays as much tax as possible.

By making a will you appoint your own administrator; you name the guardians of your minor children; you control applicable taxes; you can create a family or charitable trust; and you can share your resources with your family, church, or other institutions as you choose.

A bequest in a will can take the form of a set amount of money, a percentage of an estate, a specific asset, a trust, or the naming of St. Mary’s as a contingent beneficiary.

Sample language for including the church in your will might be: “I give, devise and bequeath (state amount, asset or percentage of the estate) to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 512 Champagnolle Rd., El Dorado, Arkansas to be used (describe use) or as the church’s governing board or vestry deems appropriate.”

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2. Life Income Gifts

Life Income Gifts provide you an income in return. They can be established in several ways, the most common of which include the Church Pooled Income Fund, the Charitable Gift Annuity, and the Charitable Remainder Trust.

In the Episcopal Church Foundation’s Pooled Income Fund, gifts ($2,500 minimum) are “pooled” with other gifts and are invested in a professionally managed investment portfolio. The donor receives the following benefits:

A guaranteed income for life. The amount of the income depends on the rate of return on the fund’s investments. The income can also flow to a surviving, or other designated, beneficiary.
An immediate federal income tax deduction. The amount of the deduction is usually based on the age of the donor and/or beneficiaries.
The elimination of capital gains taxes, if funded through appreciated securities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds or real estate.
A possible reduction in estate taxes.
At the death of the final beneficiary, the property goes to the church.

The benefits of establishing a Charitable Gift Annuity are similar to that of the Pooled Income Fund with the following differences:

The income for life is guaranteed at a fixed rate.
Some of the income received may be tax exempt.
The minimum gift is $5,000.
Unlike the Pooled Income Fund, this gift may be “reinsured” by a life insurance company that will agree to pay you an income for life and provide the church with an immediate cash gift. This cash payout for the gift portion of the annuity will be considerably less than if the church waited until the death of the donor.

A Charitable Remainder Trust usually involves larger sums of money ($100,000 or more) and is individually managed. Like the Pooled Income Fund and the Charitable Gift Annuity, the Charitable Remainder Trust provides income for life, and income tax deduction, relief from capital gains taxes (if funded through appreciated property), and a possible reduction in estate taxes.

A Charitable Remainder Trust can be added to over the years, and a portion of the Trust can be set aside for growth as a hedge against inflation. The rate of return fluctuates based on the performance of the portfolio. If you are seeking a set rate of return annually, a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust is an option to consider.

Charitable Remainder Trusts may be established with any entity that the donor chooses as trustee, which is qualified to do so, including individuals, local banks, or institutions such as the Episcopal Church Foundation.

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3. Gifts of Life Insurance

Life insurance is a popular and convenient way to make a sizeable gift to the church. For example:

You can purchase a new policy and make the church the owner and beneficiary of the policy. This enables you to “leverage” your gift, ultimately making a much larger gift than otherwise possible. Premiums become tax deductible.
You can make the church the owner and beneficiary of an existing policy. The current value of the policy is tax deductible, as are future premium payments.
You can make the church a contingent beneficiary of an existing policy, i.e., name St. Mary’s to receive the proceeds of the policy if the designated beneficiaries predecease the insured.
Also, you can use life insurance in conjunction with another planned gift. For example, you can purchase life insurance with the income received from a life income trust, thus replacing, and in some instances, surpassing, the principal removed from the estate by the gift.

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4. A Gift of Life Estate

Another way of making a planned gift is by deeding your home, vacation home, farm, ranch, or condominium to the church. Through a charitable life estate contract, you retain the right to live on the property and/or receive income from the property for as long as you or your beneficiary lives. You receive an income tax deduction when the property is deeded to the church, avoid any capital gains taxes when making the transfer, and your inheritance and estate taxes may be reduced at the time of your death.

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5. Gifts of Appreciated Property

Securities, real estate, or tangible personal property can be an excellent means of making a gift to the church. You do not pay federal capital gains taxes if the appreciated securities or real estate are transferred to the church. Normally, the value of the shares for gift and tax purposes is the fair market value, not the original purchase price.

It is important to transfer the stock or real estate to the church prior to selling it. However, if securities or real estate have decreased in value, you should sell the assets before making the gift, thus establishing a capital loss and a potential tax deduction.

Gifts of tangible personal property, such as jewelry, coins, stamp collections, furniture, works of art, antiques, automobiles, boats, etc., may be given to the church. You are responsible for setting an appraised value on the gift. Any gift over $5,000 must be independently appraised.

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Please click here for a printable form you can fill out and send to St. Mary’s requesting additional information about various means of Planned Giving.
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