Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Twelve Steps For Christian Estate Planning- Step #10

By: Laurie Valentine- COO & Trust Counsel

Step #10-Plan Now for Possible Future Incapacity-
Part 1 

Do you know who would be “in charge” if, as a result of a stroke, accident or illness you were no longer able to make decisions for yourself or manage your finances?

If you have not planned for that possibility, family may have no alternative but to go to court to have you determined to be mentally incapacitated so that a guardian/conservator can be appointed and empowered to make decisions about where you will live, the kind of medical care you will receive, and how your assets will be managed and used for your benefit.

There are significant financial and emotional costs to not planning for incapacity. All expenses and fees associated with setting up the guardianship, as well as the on-going costs of the annual reporting to the court and work of the guardian, will be paid out of your assets. And, the emotional toll on family who may have no choice but to take such actions will be heavy.

Next Month-Step #11 - Plan Now for Possible Future Incapacity-Part 2

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How Long Has it Been?

By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO

How long has it been since you reviewed your estate planning documents? Are the ways in which your assets are titled consistent with your distribution plans as stated in your estate planning documents? Is your executor/executrix still available and willing to serve in that capacity? If you have minor children, have you provided for a guardian of your choosing? Are you taking advantage of the marital deduction to which you are entitled? Are you taking advantage of the federal estate tax exemption equivalent? Have you considered the possible benefits you might attain from a revocable living trust? Have you included your church and other Christian ministries, which are near and dear to your heart, in your plan either by bequest in your will or revocable living trust, or by beneficiary designation of life insurance or retirement accounts? Have you executed a durable power of attorney and a living will directive?

Statistics reveal a very high percentage of Americans who have wills do not have current wills. In other words, if they died today the wills they have in place do not reflect their current wishes regarding distribution of assets. Circumstances in their lives have changed since they executed their wills, but they have not kept their wills current. There have been deaths, births, graduations, marriages, divorces, incapacitated loved ones or relocations to or from another state. And yet, these individuals have neglected their Christian duty to review, and if necessary, revise their estate planning documents. Remember what the Apostle Paul advised the Christians of his day and is still advising us today via the Holy Scriptures in 1 Timothy 5:8: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

And what about those of you who do not have even a basic will let alone any other estate planning documents? According to a recent Rocket Lawyer survey you are among the 61% of Americans who fall into that very depressing category.

Laurie Valentine, our trust counsel, suggests one revisit his or her estate plan every three to five years, or sooner if circumstances warrant, to keep it up to date. And, she strongly urges every one not to procrastinate in tending to these all important matters. After all, it will be your family and other heirs that likely will pay the price for your procrastination. If you have questions, feel free to call Laurie toll free. Also, invite her to your church or adult group to present our “Estate Planning Mistakes and Solutions” seminar.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stewardship Truths #9

A 12 part series discussing stewardship.

By: Barry G. Allen

Recognize you do not have to be financially wealthy to make a worthy gift to our Lord.

Mark 12:41-44 “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’”

In terms of the coins she used this woman made the smallest gift that day, but to Jesus she made the most significant gift to God’s work.

The truth of that experience is:

The gift that counts is the gift that costs.

With God, it’s not the amount, but the proportion,

it's not the size of the gift, but the size of the sacrifice that really matters.

So remember, in God’s sight the depth of our giving does not depend on the depth of our pockets, but on the depth of our love and commitment.

This story teaches us no person is excluded from the privilege of making a worthy gift to our Lord.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Somebody’s Gonna Get Your Stuff

By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO

Laurie Valentine uses this Jane Bryant Quinn quote in our Christian Estate Planning seminars, which we conduct in churches throughout the year. “You own stuff, you will die, someone will get your stuff.”

We all have stuff of various kinds with varying values, but lots of stuff. Our stuff can be in the form of furniture, clothing, jewelry, automobiles, collections and the like, and in the form of cash, stocks, bonds, mutual fund shares, ETFs, real estate, life insurance and retirement accounts. Whatever stuff we have, and regardless of its value, it all belongs to God, and He has entrusted it to us to manage and to use (a) for our enjoyment, (b) to help others and (c) to invest in eternal things (I Timothy 6:17 – 19).

We all shall die. Some of us are concerned about dying too soon while others of us are concerned about living too long. We human beings are the only ones of God’s creatures who tend to hold on to our stuff to the end.

When we die, someone will get our stuff. In the disposition of our stuff, we Christians have a duty to God, the owner of our stuff, to our families and to those who are in need. To fulfill that duty responsibly, each of us needs a plan. The plan we need will depend upon what kind and how much stuff we have to manage. As citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the Commonwealth has a plan for the disposition of your stuff if you have not taken responsibility to have your own plan. Let me assure you the Commonwealth’s plan does not include any provisions for any of your stuff to benefit the “Commonwealth of our Lord.” To fulfill our duty to the One who entrusted our stuff to us, we must take the initiative to have a plan. The basic document in that plan is a last will and testament. With it you can ensure not only who will get your stuff but also who will be in charge of its disposition.

Call Laurie Valentine toll-free for assistance. She is available to give you ideas on how to make a plan that disposes of your stuff in a way that gets it to the someone you want to receive it and in a manner that honors our Lord.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Name a Guardian for Minor Children

By: Laurie Valentine-COO & Trust Counsel 

Children under age 18 are “minors” under Kentucky law. As such, they cannot make decisions for themselves or manage assets. The law requires a guardian be named by a court to handle those things until a child reaches age 18, if there is not a natural or adoptive parent surviving.

Accomplishing God’s plan for how you should provide for your family includes deciding who should be named to take on the important role of “guardian” for your children if both parents died before all children reach age 18. The guardian will decide, among other things, where your children live, go to church, and go to school. And, if you have not set up a trust for each child’s share of your estate in your will, the guardian will be the one managing each child’s share of your estate until they reach 18.

Once parents have made a decision, they should discuss it with the person or couple they want to name as guardian to make sure the person or couple is willing and able to take on the responsibility. Parents should share why they want to name the person/couple and also provide guidance as to how they would want their children raised.

And, once the decision has been made and your choice has agreed, each parent should put it “in writing” by including a provision in their will naming the person(s) so your family and the court will know who you want appointed as guardian if such a circumstance occurs.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Our Time Has Arrived!

By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation was formally conceived by a motion from the floor of the 1943 annual meeting of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, now the Kentucky Baptist Convention, meeting in Bowling Green. It was created in 1944 when the GABK approved its charter. It was incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky on March 8, 1945, almost seventy years ago. The first meeting of its board of directors was held June 19, 1945. Dr. J. W. Black, the General Secretary of the GABK, convened the meeting and agreed to serve as the Secretary-Treasurer of the KBF until other staff arrangements could be made. The late A. M. Vollmer was elected the first full-time executive leader of the KBF effective July 1, 1946. Previously he had served as the superintendent of the Louisville Orphan’s Home. Dr. Vollmer retired August 31, 1964. In his final report to the KBF board of directors, Dr. Vollmer said, “the Foundation has been in the past and will continue to be in the future my first love among all of our Kentucky Baptist projects. This is true because it lives to strengthen all the rest.”

No one has said it any better than Dr. Vollmer. Today, the KBF still exists not for itself but for the rest of our larger and extended Kentucky Baptist family of churches, associations, educational institutions, children’s homes, hospitals, camps and conference centers, mission boards and missions support organizations.

Although the KBF has been serving Kentucky Baptists for almost seventy years, its time has just arrived! Given the significant challenges of financing in the future the missions and ministries of every component of our Kentucky Baptist family, and given the demographic, economic, social, cultural, technological and denominational trends, and their collective impact on charitable giving, the role of the KBF in the future of Kentucky Baptist life will be ever more critical.

Please give Laurie Valentine and me the privilege of facilitating your desire to make a lasting difference in the world for the cause of Christ through your estate plan.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Twelve Steps For Christian Estate Planning- Step #9

By: Laurie Valentine- COO & Trust Counsel

Step #9 Include a Legacy Gift in Your Plan. The Bible reminds us God owns everything and we are merely the managers, not the owners, of all with which he has blessed us. We can “Honor the Lord with your substance” (Proverbs 3:9), by including a gift out of our assets (“substance”) that will help advance God’s Kingdom in this world.

That is what legacy gifts in the context of Christian estate planning are----gifts out of your assets that provide either immediate or deferred benefits to one or more Christian causes you name in your plan. Bequests in Wills and Trusts; designating a Christian cause as a beneficiary of all or a portion of a life insurance policy or retirement account; and gifts that provide benefits first to you and/or others and then to charity are all ways to include a legacy gift in your plan.

Legacy gifts can provide tax savings to the giver and valuable long term financial strength and stability to the charitable cause(s) named to benefit from your gift.

And, most importantly, including a legacy gift in your plan allows you to make a lasting difference for the cause of Christ in this world.

Next Month-Step #10 - Plan Now for Possible Future Incapacity—Part 1.

For more information, please call us at (502) 489-3533 or toll free in KY at 1(866) 489-3533.

The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.