Individuals Individuals

Estate Gifts

Gifts that are made after a person’s death are generically known as “estate gifts.” Most often these come in the form of gifts that are made by a provision in an individual’s will. They can also occur as a result of the designation of a beneficiary on a bank account, a retirement plan, or an insurance policy.

We hope that you consider a gift to your church or other United Methodist cause as you plan your estate. The following will provide some ideas that assist you in such considerations. To accomplish any of these gifts you are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of a competent professional.

Sample bequest language

  • In naming a church or United Methodist cause in your will or as a beneficiary from another financial account, it is critical that you be as specific as possible as to the correct legal name and geographic location of the charity.
  • Your will could provide for a specific amount to be given, or it could provide for a stated percentage of your estate. You could also provide that after specific bequests are made to family and friends the remainder of your estate would go to the church or cause.
  • You may want to have your bequest established for a specific purpose such as missions or youth ministry. If this is the case, you should be careful to not be so specific as to make the administration of the gift difficult.
  • Your bequest could also be used to fund a permanent endowment so that income would be available to the church forever.
  • An example of bequest language: “I hereby provide that 10% of my net estate be given to the ABC United Methodist Church of Anywhere, Pennsylvania for their unrestricted use.”

Planning tools

  • Basic terms
  • Tax considerations
    • Gifts made to qualified charities, such as your church, escape the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax.
    • Charitable gifts also have the potential to reduce the size of the estate that may be subject to Federal Estate Tax.
    • Gifts of retirement plan assets to charity may provide additional tax benefits; as such assets are often subject to Federal income tax as well.

If there are other estate-gift issues you’d like us to address, please send us an email.