Leaving a Legacy for St. John’s Church . . .
Many parishioners would like to make a significant gift to St. John’s, but feel they are unable to relinquish assets during their lifetimes. Planned giving may be a good way to resolve this dilemma. The following are some planned giving options that will benefit St. John’s Church and may provide you additional income and extra tax deductions as well. Be sure to consult your lawyer or estate planning advisor about how each of these options may suit your own financial and estate plan.
A Bequest in Your Will
One of the easiest and most popular types of planned gift is a bequest in your Will in favor of St. John’s Church. There are several basic kinds of bequests, which are generally deductible for federal estate tax purposes:
- Fixed Amount – this is the most common type of bequest.
- Residuary – St. John’s receives a designated share or the entire remainder of your estate after heirs are provided for and expenses paid.
- Contingent – St. John’s receives a gift from your estate, usually in the event you are not survived by your primary heirs.
- Personal and Real Property – St. John’s receives a specific asset such as securities or real estate.
- Testamentary Charitable Remainder Trust – named beneficiaries receive payments for life, then all or part of the principal goes to St. John’s upon the death of the named beneficiary or beneficiaries.
If you would like sample bequest language, please let us know.
Charitable Gift Annuities
A Charitable Gift Annuity is a wonderful way to make a gift to St. John’s, get an income tax deduction, and generate income during your lifetime. A gift annuity is a simple contract between the donor and the Episcopal Church Foundation, which administers these gifts on behalf of St. John’s. The ECF will pay the donor a fixed and guaranteed income for life, typically at a rate that is higher than what the donor is already receiving commercially. The donor get a charitable income tax deduction when the gift is made, and a portion of the annual income is tax free.
Other Forms of Life Income Gifts
If you are interested in other forms of Life Income Gifts, such as Charitable Remainder Unitrusts (so called CRUTS), or Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts (CRATS), please let us know. These gifts are substantial, and typically involve amounts of $100,000 or more.
Gifts of Retirement Plans – IRAs, 401Ks, Other Qualified Plans
As you may know, it is very tax-expensive to give these assets to your children through your estate, since they are subject to both estate and income taxes. Giving these assets to St. John’s upon your death can avoid paying these taxes. So, if you think you will have excess value in these plans at your death, it is quite easy to give them to St. John’s and receive an estate tax deduction in the process. All you need to do is designate St. John’s on the Beneficiary Designation form of the retirement plan.
Other Gifts – Life Insurance, Retained Life Estate
Existing policies, paid-up policies, or a new policy can be used to make a gift to St. John’s. When you designate St. John’s as owner of an existing policy, you benefit from an immediate income tax deduction, while a new policy offers deductions for continuing annual premiums. You may also designate St. John’s as a beneficiary or successor beneficiary on a single, term, or group life policy, although this option offers less significant tax benefit.
Real estate – particularly in the form of a Retained Life Estate – can make a wonderful planned gift. This gift can be either your primary residence, or a vacation property. Here’s how it works . . .
If you give your property to St. John’s with a Retained Life Estate, you continue to live there as if no transfer had taken place: you pay the taxes and continue to maintain the property. But since the property has been gifted to St. John’s, you get an income tax deduction based on the present value of the charitable remainder interest, you pay no capital gains tax since the property was not sold, and, because the property was given to a charitable institution, it is not included as part of your taxable estate. St. John’s can then sell the property upon your death, with the proceeds going into the Church’s General Fund.
Making a Planned Gift to St. John’s
All proceeds from planned gifts go directly to St. John’s General Fund and are invested along with other church assets. Our legal name, for any form of Planned Gift to St. John’s, is: The Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of St. John’s Church, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724.
If you have questions about making a planned gift, or would like to talk to someone about different planned giving options, please start by calling our Parish Administrator at 516-692-6368 x3, to be put in touch with the proper person.
All inquiries to St. John’s will of course be held in strict confidence. We urge you to discuss a planned gift with your own lawyer or estate planning advisor as well.