Options to Give Bequest

Remember Your United Methodist Church in Your Will or Estate Plan

A gift to the church through one’s will or estate plan can be a meaningful testament to one’s faith and an inspiration to family and friends.

 

 Consider these possibilities:

  1. Tithe your estate.
  2. Imagine that you have a child named “Charity” that will receive a portion of your estate similar to your other children or heirs.
  3. Name your church as the “residuary beneficiary” of your estate.
  4. Make a gift that will permanently endow your annual pledge to your church. (see endowment discussion below) (Rule of thumb: Gift amount x 5% = your annual pledge.)


Unrestricted Gifts

Many donors understand the need that charities have to respond to emerging needs and to direct funds where needed most. Unrestricted gifts afford the charity maximum flexibility in using funds to achieve the charitable mission. If an individual wishes to allow a charity to use their donation for purposes as needed, then the following language may be incorporated in a will or trust document:

(Describe a particular asset, a specific amount or a percentage of the estate) to the (Name of UM Church or Charity, followed by current address) for its charitable tax-exempt purposes, without restriction. If (Name of UM Church or Charity) does not exist at the time of distribution, then to (Name another UM Church or Charity) for its charitable tax-exempt purposes, without restriction.

Restricted Gifts

Often, a gift through a will, trust or other planned gift will be the largest gift of a donor’s lifetime. The donor may want this gift to be used for a particular purpose such as children’s ministries or music programs at a local church. Or, the donor may want the charity to invest the gift and only use the income.

Many United Methodist churches and charities have already created endowment funds for specific purposes. Gifts to existing endowments become part of the endowment principal and only the income is used for the stated purpose of the endowment. It is advisable to contact the church or charity prior to finalizing gift plans to determine the names and purposes of existing funds. Often, a donor’s intention to donate a significant gift is enough to trigger the charity to establish an endowment into which future gifts can flow.

For a general restriction, the following may be used:

[Describe a particular asset, a specific amount or a percentage of the estate] to the [Name of UM Church or Charity, followed by current address] (“Charity”) for [describe the purpose, such as a program, activity or project] (“Purpose”). If Purpose does not exist at the time of distribution, Charity shall use the distribution for one or more of its charitable tax-exempt purposes nearest to the original Purpose. If Charity does not exist at the time of distribution, then the distribution shall go to the Missouri United Methodist Foundation, Inc., (“Foundation”) 3601 Amron Court, Suite 103, Columbia, Missouri, to be used and administered for the Purpose or for a charitable tax-exempt purpose as near as possible to the original Purpose as determined by the Foundation Board of Directors.

One of the primary services of the Missouri United Methodist Foundation is to serve as a fiduciary for donors who wish to ensure that their instructions will be followed.

For an endowment restriction, the following may be used:

[Describe a particular asset, a specific amount or a percentage of the estate] to the [Name of UM Church or Charity, followed by current address] (“Charity”) for [Name of an existing endowment fund] (“Fund”). If Fund does not exist at the time of distribution, Charity shall establish an endowment for the purpose of receiving such a gift. If Charity does not exist at the time of distribution, then the distribution shall go to the Missouri United Methodist Foundation, Inc., (“Foundation”) 3601 Amron Court, Suite 103, Columbia, Missouri, to be used and administered as an endowment for the benefit of the charitable ministries of the United Methodist Church in Missouri as deemed appropriate by the Foundation Board of Directors.

Often an endowment gift will include a desire to include a memorial name on the endowment. Naming a gift is itself a further restriction that can create unintended complications. For example, the inadvertent requirement to maintain separate records in perpetuity for a $1,000 endowment gift in memory of John Doe may not be practical. Therefore, many charities have minimum gift amount requirements in order to create named endowments. (The Foundation’s minimum gift requirement is $10,000.)

It is recommended that donors check with the intended charity to learn about minimum requirements before finalizing endowment restrictions. For gifts that do not meet the named endowment minimum, most charities offer other meaningful ways to provide memorial recognition.

All donors should consult with their own professional advisors to ensure that an estate plan meets their unique goals and complies with all legal requirements. The foregoing material is provided for general educational and informational purposes only. The Foundation does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice.

 

Ask David


Contact David Atkins for answers to your charitable giving questions.

 

datkins@mumf.org

 

800-332-8238