Estate Planning Information

One-Sentence Wonders and Other Estate-Planning Tips

Can one sentence be all it takes to benefit a church or other charity after someone’s death?

Yes, answers Tom Trussler, a 30-year fundraiser for Christian schools, colleges, universities, and other faith-based groups.

Featured in a Sept. 14 video by Triad’s KNOWName Media ministry and shown during both worship services, Trussler says churches and other charities usually aren’t included in wills or revocable trust documents not because many people don’t want to. They’re just seldom asked.

“Interestingly, when I sat down with families and asked, 98.3 percent — or nearly all — named their churches or other faith-based charities in their estate plans,” adds Trussler, who is now retired. “It’s just asking, ‘Would you like to name a charity in your will?’ and taking the time to think through your own answer to that question before you start drafting a will or seeking legal help to create one.”

The follow-up seminar to Trussler’s “Your Future Opportunity” video is noon Saturday, Nov. 22, in room (fill in room number). Led in part by two attorneys, the 40-minute session features a question-and-answer session and resource list for those who’d like to create a will or revocable living trust or just want to learn more about estate planning.

Legal and tax experts say “charitable bequests” — the formal term for designated gifts in a will or trust to a church or other 501(c)(3) nonprofit — have four primary benefits:

They’re simple. A sentence in a will or trust that reads, “I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to [name of church or charity] [percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose,” is all it takes to legally make a bequest.

They’re dynamic. Bequests can be revised at any time if circumstances change since the actual gifts aren’t made until after death.

They’re adaptable. Bequests can involve a specific item, amount or percentage or be made contingent on certain events. Designating percentages is recommended since they ensure gifts will remain proportionate no matter how an estate’s value fluctuates over time.

They’re tax smart. Contributions to churches and eligible charitable organizations can reduce tax liability if estates are large enough to be subject to estate taxes.
Watch a 3.5-minute version of Trussler’s estate planning presentation, take a short estate planning survey, or register for the Nov. 22 seminar by calling 996-7573 ext. 100.


Your Future Opportunity: NOW!

For more information about our up-coming FREE estate planning seminar, please click the link: Estate Planning Questionnaire

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