Wednesday, 03 October 2012 14:47
By Michael Christopherson
Over the past year you have probably observed the phrase “Remember the Church” in your church bulletin, parish or diocesan mail, parish newsletter, or maybe on the back of your parish envelopes. Regardless of where you may have encountered it, perhaps you have wondered if this is just a catchy phrase or does it really produce results. The answer to that is “yes” on both counts.
Parishioner donates land to his parish
Your fellow Catholics throughout the diocese have done a good job in remembering the church and have done so in many different ways. Recently one local parish was the recipient of many acres of farmland that was left in an estate, which will serve to maintain the parish as well as make improvements to the parish school. (Monetary distributions from insurance policies, gift annuities, will, estate plans, a burse, or other planned giving vehicle are considered extraordinary income and not subject to the 10 percent tithing to the diocese.)
A few months ago another parish and school benefited from the advanced planning of another Catholic family who had generously provided for their family first and then shared the remainder with their parish and parish school. Certainly these are great ways for them to extend their stewardship at their passing and allow their memory to live on.
Honor a loved one
Other fellow Catholics have chosen to establish a burse in honor of either a living or deceased person or persons who had a particular meaning in their life. Often times these are in honor of a former priest or pastor or maybe a former sister who had played a special role for someone. A burse is an endowment that is administered through the diocesan offices. All funds received are combined and the principal remains intact. The earnings from the pooled funds are used for the education of seminarians.
Some prefer life insurance
Some members prefer to use life insurance as a simple way to give a significant gift to charity often times with tax benefits that can be enjoyed throughout your lifetime. In this instance, the parish or the diocese is made the owner and irrevocable beneficiary of your life insurance policy. You can either give a paid-up policy or continue to pay premiums. You receive a tax deduction for the approximate cost or fair market value, whichever is less. If it is a paid up policy, you may receive an immediate tax deduction. If not, you can claim a continuing tax deduction on premium payments you make directly to the diocese for the benefit of the parish or other specified beneficiary.
Charitable Gift Annuities
Charitable Gift Annuities are another option used by many Catholics throughout the diocese. These are especially beneficial for older parishioners who want to remember the church while at the same time receive income.
Persons 60 and above often find the interest rate on their gift annuity is far better than what they are currently receiving on a bank CD or other fixed rate vehicle. In this instance, an individual or couple can invest $5,000 or more in a gift annuity and be guaranteed to receive a quarterly income for the remainder of their life or lives.
The residual after death is then given to the parish or diocesan entity that you have designated. Additionally, there are tax benefits that accompany this as well. Each of these is handled individually as the return rate is age dependent. An illustration can be obtained by simply calling the diocesan Development Office.
Or, make a bequest
The most popular way of remembering the church is through a bequest in your will or estate plan. This can be handled very easily through your attorney by simply specifying a percentage or a fixed dollar amount of your estate is to be given to your parish, designated ministry, or the diocese. Approximately 70 percent of all gifts received come in the form of a bequest.
It is important to remember that in all instances, your family, your little church, should be your first consideration for your continued stewardship. Once you are comfortable that their needs are satisfied, then all of the aforementioned opportunities are opened to you.
Want to learn more?
For further information or to discuss these opportunities more fully, please contact Mike Christopherson in the Office of Development and Planned Giving at (316) 440-1733.