Planned Giving

planned-giving-logoAs Christians, we are encouraged to plan forward for the well being of our family and our church well into the future.  “Planned Giving”, some times known as “Legacy Giving” is a charitable donation process for consideration with other end of life planning, along with things like Powers of Attorney, Medical Directives, Wills, and Funeral Plans and Burial Preferences.


According to the Episcopal Church Foundation, Planned Giving should be thought of as “…a deliberate, thoughtful, prayerful process that placed God at the same level as family in your heart and in your legacy”.  It should be considered by all Christians, not just the wealthy!  And, by making such intents now, one may experience the joy of making the gift during your life!

CLICK HERE to view a presentation about PLANNED GIVING







Several methods of Planned Giving are available for your consideration.  Further information may be found through the following links:

——Designating your church as a beneficiary on financial accounts
——Bequests in a will
——Life insurance
——Income producing investments
——Gifting of appreciated assets
——Additional Resources

The information in the links refers to Planned Gifts to “The Church”.   While of course St. James would appreciate your consideration of such gifts, the general reference could include any charitable organization.  Specific to “The Church” one could name any particular Episcopal parish, diocese, seminary, or organization involved in doing God’s work.

The simplest way to leave money to the Church is by designating the church as a beneficiary on financial accounts.  Such procedures are governed by forms from the institution holding the account.  St. James could be considered as a whole, partial, or contingent beneficiary, usually at any percentage desired.

Families often consider making gifts to the Church upon the request of their loved one, after receiving an inheritance.  Consider your tax status.

Gifts to the Church directly from one’s IRA count toward meeting one’s minimum IRA distribution.

Should the Church be listed as a beneficiary on certain pre-tax accounts such as an IRA, money received by the Church accordingly does not bear income taxes, nor do your heirs. Consult a tax professional for details pertaining to your situation.

Bequest in a will represent by far the most common method of planned giving.  As with financial accounts, one should consider naming the Church as a whole, partial, or contingent beneficiary at any percentages desired.

Gifts planned in this manner may be designated for certain uses by the Church by the donor, or be unrestricted.

The size of one’s estate and future tax law changes should also enter planning.  Generally, funds received in this manner by the church are tax free.

Should your situation change, your will may be modified at any time.

Life Insurance, while typically thought of by young families to ensure their financial security, offer Planned Giving opportunities.

As with wills or financial accounts, the church may be a whole, partial, or contingent beneficiary at any percentages desired.

Rather than cancelling policies one may no longer need for you family, consider maintaining the policy and designating the Church as a beneficiary.  The donor remains in complete control of the policy.

Existing or new policies may name the Church as an owner of the policy, and the donor may gift to the Church the ongoing premiums.  Tax deductions may be available to the donor both  on the premium, and on the cash value of the policy at the time of the donation.  However, the donor may not change the policy as time goes on and, if the donor no longer wishes to fund the premium, the church will make decisions regarding the policy.  Of course, such gifts require discussion with your church before pursuit.

Income producing investments that involve your church are available through your selected financial service provider or through the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF).

ECF sponsors Pooled income trusts that allow donors to pool money with other donors to create a fund invested in fixed income type assets.   The donor receives ongoing income, and receives a tax deduction for the initial donation.  Upon death, the Church receives a donation equal to the donor’s initial investment.

Charitable Gift Annuities function a lot like other annuities available in the market, but with a charitable component.  Certain tax deductions are available when a gift annuity is created, and donor receives ongoing monthly payments.  Upon one’s passing, the Church receives a gift from the sponsoring institution typically valued at about half of the initial donation.  This unique, powerful tool should be considered only upon personal consultation with your financial adviser or with ECF, but offers many benefits and a significant gift to the Church.

Charitable Trusts are giving tools typically pursued when significant sums of money are desired to be left by the donor to charities; consult legal advice.

Gifting of appreciated asset, both financial and tangible, may be an option for you.

Stocks or mutual funds gifted to the Church do not bear tax on the appreciated value of the asset, and at this time offer one of the most generous tax advantaged charitable giving tools.

Gifting of real estate or other tangible real assets of significant value may present opportunity for your situation, but each type of gift presents certain considerations.  Such gifts should be  undertaken only after consultation between the donor and the Church.

Additional resources, along with your own selected attorney of financial adviser, are available here.  Also, the Director of Foundations for the Dioceses of Texas is available for consultation.  As of 2015, this person is David Fisher, (email) , 713 353 2109. is the web site for the Episcopal Church Foundation, with various tutorials and information.  One may call Meg King, Assistant Program Director, 800.697.2858 or email Meg King. provides information specific to planned giving options also provides information on planned giving, along with model calculators for tools such as charitable annuities contains directions to access videos and webinars