Planned Giving – Gifts and Estate Planning

There are specific times and events in your life when planning your gifts can result in great benefits for both you and your favorite charities.  Important events include the sale of appreciated assets, sale of a business or farmland, or retirement.

Planned Gifts may be made either during your lifetime or at death.  They usually involve the assistance of professionals such as your accountant, attorney or financial planner.

Estate Planning is not only for the wealthy; it is for EVERYONE.  It is simply the process of deciding where your assets should be distributed after your death.  The plan is implemented through a Will or Revocable Living Trust.

For many people, a Revocable Living Trust is an excellent tool to implement their Estate Plan.  Like a Will, a Trust makes provision for the transfer of your assets at death.  Unlike a will, assets in the Trust are NOT subject to the costs and delays of probate.  During your lifetime, it remains completely under your control.

Estate Planning Checklist

How does your checklist look?  Do you have. . .

  • An up-to-date Will or Living Trust?

As your planning needs change over the years, your Will should be updated to manage these changes.

A Living Trust disposes of property in much the same way as a Will, while providing other benefits.  It is a simple and flexible way for you to hold and manage property.  It also allows others to act on your behalf at any time it becomes necessary.  If the Trust contains all your property, then the Estate passes free of probate.

  • A Durable Power of Attorney?

Through this document, you appoint a person to manage your property if you become incapacitated.  A Power of Attorney applies to property that you have not transferred into a Trust. Formal guardianships on your behalf are normally made unnecessary by this action.

  • A Living Will?

Most states now authorize you to make a statement of your desires regarding medical treatment if you become terminally ill.  Preferences about the use of “heroic efforts” and artificial life supports are frequently included.

  • A Health Care Power of Attorney?

This document allows you to appoint a person to be your representative in making medical decisions for you at any time you are unable to make them yourself.

Your Estate Planning Questions

  • Is an Estate Plan the same as having a Will?

A Will is a legal document that describes your plans for your property upon your death.  It is the foundational document required for all Estate Plans.

  • If my Estate is small, do I need a Will?

If you don’t have a Will, the state has one for you.  Laws are enacted in each state to determine what will be done with the assets of an individual who dies without a Will.  Unfortunately, the state’s “Will” does not take into account your personal values, Christian commitment, goals, family situation or needs.  A Will enables you to decide who will become the next “steward” of the resources that God has entrusted to you.

  • How do I provide for my children’s care after I’m gone?

In your Will, you can name the person you would like to be the Guardian of your children. The Guardian has responsibility for the physical care of your children. By naming a Guardian in your Will, you, rather than the local court, can decide who should care for your children if something happens to you. Your children’s financial needs can be met by creating a Children’s Trust in your Will. It holds all of your assets for your children’s benefit until they have reached the level of education you want to provide for them and are mature enough to handle an outright distribution from your Estate. In creating a Trust, you must appoint a person to be in charge of the Trust, called a Trustee. Your Trustee will invest the assets in the Trust and make decisions about their distribution to your children.

  • Should I consider a Living Trust?

For many people a Revocable Living Trust is an excellent way to implement their Estate Plan. Like a Will, a Trust makes provision for the transfer of your assets at death. Unlike a Will, assets in the Trust are not subject to the costs and delays of probate. During your lifetime, it remains completely under your control.

If structured and funded properly, the use of a Revocable Living Trust can eliminate court costs (except in an unusual situation); lower the amount of attorney time needed to administer your Estate, thus lowering attorney fees; and avoid time delays. In most situations, the successor Trustee can assume management of the Trust immediately. The payment of final bills, collection of insurance monies, sale of appropriate assets, etc., can be done very quickly. The actual time it takes to “administer the Estate of the decedent” by means of a Living Trust often can be reduced by half, as compared with the probate process.

On the other hand, Trusts are not for everyone. Because of the added initial cost, funding requirements and other issues, some people prefer a Will for their primary Estate Planning document. Even with the Trust, it is recommended that you have a Will, often called a “pour-over” Will to cover any assets not included in the Trust at your death.

Suggestions for Charitable Giving in Estate Plans

  • Giving a tithe of your Estate to charity

When planning for the future allocation of your Estate, you can use the occasion to reinforce the importance of the biblical concept of a tithe to your family. For example, if a couple with four children had an Estate of $600,000, a tithe of the Estate would provide $60,000 for charity and $540,000 to their children, or approximately $135,000 for each child.

  • Child Named Charity”

The concept of a “Child Named Charity” actually was presented to the Barnabas Foundation by a couple who had lost a child and wanted that child’s share to go to their favorite Christian charities. It has become a popular way for many people to distribute gifts from their Estate.

For example, if a couple has four children and wants to include a “Child Named Charity” in their plans, they would divide their Estate five ways: one-fifth to each child and one-fifth to their favorite Christian organizations. A “Child Named Charity” makes a strong statement to family members about your commitment to Christian causes. At the same time, it still provides a substantial portion of your Estate for your children.

Make an Investment in God’s Kingdom

Debt Reduction / Debt Retirement

Currently, Freeman Academy has a total of $525,000 left to pay on the construction of Sterling Hall and the Link.  Fifteen-year loans from Merchants State Bank of Freeman and US Dept. of Agriculture will mature in 2023, BUT we could save thousands of dollars in interest if we can pay them off early – by 2018.  A generous gift to this cause would benefit the school by saving money that could be used for other needed campus improvements, financial student assistance and general fund cash flow.

Financial Aid Fund

Each year twenty or more students receive some tuition assistance to attend Freeman Academy.  That assistance is funded through cash gifts, estate gifts, and interest on invested endowment money gifted to the school by individuals and alumni classes.

Future Capital Improvements

Since Freeman Academy is located on a former college campus comprised of older buildings, we need to be vigilant with repairs and upkeep.  Repair and painting of all walls and restroom upgrades in the Administration Building is the next large project.  Work began in the summer of 2013 with drainage tile along the outside walls and resurfacing of first floor hallways.  The next phase will be to upgrade the restrooms.

Remodeling of the backstage, locker room, make-up and costume rooms in Pioneer Hall is another project waiting for attention.  This would include both the main floor and the basement along with updating the kitchen and replacing the 60+ year-old ceiling and flooring in the cafeteria and dining hall.