Wednesday, 05 September 2012 13:43
By Mike Christopherson
For some time I have been addressing the importance of establishing a will or trust to make sure that your wishes and desires are fulfilled upon your passing or, if married, are properly transferred to your spouse without problem. And, as has also been addressed, your primary goal should be to make sure the needs of your family are handled appropriately.
As often occurs, children, brothers, sisters, and other extended family members who we initially want to remember in our will have grown up and, in many instances, become successful and achieved some degree of financial independence and success. Perhaps for many, that may mean making a change to your will or trust, which, for most people, is frequently not done. Maybe you would like to reallocate some of your assets to include your parish, a favorite ministry, or another charitable organization.
In this instance, you have two options to entertain. First of all, you can provide a fixed dollar amount regardless of amount that will be given after your death. For example, if you would like to leave $5,000 for your parish school to update their technology, then you simply indicate that specifically as part of your will.
A second option, as is often done, is to choose a percentage of your total estate to share with your beneficiaries. As an example, if currently 100 percent of your estate is going to your four children, each child would receive 25 percent of the total. If you elect to include your parish, ministry or charity (or all of them) then you can consider them as a “fifth” child. In this instance each child and the charitable grouping would receive 20 percent of the total estate. This can be handled by your attorney. This may also be done with the beneficiaries on your insurance policies.
There are many opportunities to consider when preparing or reviewing your will. One item to investigate is whether your parish has an endowment established for your parish or, if applicable, parish school, or maybe both.
So often people would like their memory to live on long after their death and that’s exactly what an endowment can accomplish. In case you are not familiar, if you contribute or establish an endowment, the principal on your donation is protected from spending. Rather it helps to form a perpetual base that continues to produce earnings that become available for the needs of your parish or school.
One can see that as the principal increases, more and more funds become available to sustain the parish, ministry or charitable organization. Check with your pastor to see if there are endowments in your parish that you can meaningfully add to with a designation in your will or insurance policy.
For further information, please contact Mike Christopherson in the Office of Development and Planned Giving at (316) 440-1733.