Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stewardship Truths-#10

A 12 part series discussing stewardship.

By: Barry G. Allen

Enjoy the resources God has entrusted to you; share them to help others and invest them in ways that touch peoples’ lives in the name of Christ.

1 Timothy 6:17 – 19 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of life that is truly life.”

Paul reminds us arrogance is the antithesis of humility. What the world/culture has made a virtue, Paul reminds us is a vice.

There is nothing inherently evil about having financial resources; it’s only if we put our hope in them that we miss the point. Paul says we can only enjoy what God has entrusted to us, if we have it in proper perspective.

We should consider our financial resources as a stewardship responsibility – true riches consist in generosity toward others.

Finally, Paul said the only way to get our treasures into heaven is to invest them in that which is going to heaven. Coal, cattle, land, stocks, bonds and the like are not going to heaven. Men, women, boys and girls are going to heaven.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Hybrid Giving Idea

By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO

You may desire to provide a perpetual stream of contributions for the benefit of your church, a favorite Baptist cause and/or other Christian ministries, but you are unable at this time to fund fully the perpetual endowment fund to make that happen.

A flexible endowment fund, administered by the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, is an option worthy of your consideration. It allows you to have a plan that establishes a permanent endowment fund over a defined, but flexible time period. During this flexible funding period, you also make on-going contributions directly to the cause(s) you intend to benefit.

A simple example would be to establish a flexible endowment to provide scholarship assistance for students to attend one of our Kentucky Baptist Christian education institutions. To provide $1,000 of annual assistance the endowment fund would need to be $25,000 assuming a 4% annual distribution rate. The distribution rate is not the same as the investment earnings rate. The distribution rate takes into consideration the rate of inflation and the investment costs so the fund will have an inflation-adjusted growth to the principal over time.

Let’s assume you could establish the flexible endowment fund with a $10,000 gift, and you would agree to contribute the remaining $15,000 over the next five years. Alongside your $15,000 pledge to fund fully the endowment, you also pledge to contribute directly to the institution during the funding period the difference in the $1,000 scholarship assistance and the distributable earnings from the invested principal in the endowment fund. As you fund the principal of the endowment, the principal should grow in value to produce an increasing amount of distributable earnings, and therefore, your direct annual contribution to the institution should decrease. Once the endowment has been funded fully with the $25,000, you would have no more responsibility to make contributions related to this flexible endowment.

Scholarship assistance is just one of many ideas that lend themselves to this hybrid giving idea. Call Laurie Valentine or me toll-free for more information about how you can make a lasting difference with a flexible endowment fund.

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 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.