Planned giving is a generous and effective way of ensuring our church’s future vibrancy. You have several options for making a planned gift that could provide tax benefits.
You should consult with your attorney or financial advisor for guidance in determining the planned gift approach that is right for you and your family. Here are some options to consider.
Gift from retirement plans
The simplest planned gift of all, and the most tax-efficient, is made from a tax-deferred retirement plan: 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Left as part of an estate, tax-deferred assets will be subject to income tax and possibly other forms of taxation. Where qualified, however, naming the Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton, Massachusetts as a beneficiary of a retirement plan allows the gift to pass directly to the CGS free of any taxes.
This is also one of the easiest gifts to put in place. In most instances, simply go to the website of the trustee or custodian of the plan and change the beneficiary designation. Like a bequest from a will or trust, the gift may be a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the plan assets. Please consider sending us a copy of your beneficiary form for our records.
Gift from life insurance policies
Gifts of life insurance allow you to receive charitable tax deductions while making a larger gift to the church than might not otherwise be possible for you. Using an existing life insurance policy is a quick and convenient way to make a planned gift commitment. Ask your insurance company for a beneficiary designation form, and name “Church of the Good Shepherd, Acton, Massachusetts” as a beneficiary.
gift by will
Bequests by will to the church are exempt from federal and most state inheritance taxes. With a gift by will, your total estate value is reduced by the amount of your planned gift, reducing your overall estate tax.
By your will (which you may change by a codicil) or your revocable trust (which you may change by an amendment), you can make Church of the Good Shepherd the beneficiary of cash, securities, and/or other property. You may designate by a specific amount or a percentage of your estate, or you may make the church a residual beneficiary of your will or trust; that is, a recipient of some part of the balance after payment of specific bequests, expenses, and taxes.
As you review your testamentary plans, here is sample language for consideration.
Specific amount for general purpose
“I give, advise, and bequeath to The Church of The Good Shepherd Acton, Massachusetts, the sum of $______ to be used at their discretion for the general objectives and purposes of said Church.”
Percentage amount for a specific purpose
“I give, and bequeath to The Church of The Good Shepherd Acton, Massachusetts, ___% of the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, to be used at their discretion for the general maintenance of the physical facilities of the Church of The Good Shepherd Acton.”
Your legal counsel can help you to refine the bequest language to suit your specific wishes. If you do decide to include The Church of The Good Shepherd in your will, it will be helpful to have a copy of that portion of your will for our records.