Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why Do You Need A Will?

By: Richard Carnes

Jane Bryant Quinn, a nationally known personal finance commentator, was asked why a person needs a Will. Ms. Quinn answered with the following common sense reply: “You own stuff; you will die; someone will get your stuff.” This response is certainly a good reason to have a personal Last Will and Testament, but there are several additional reasons for preparing your personal Will:

· To be a good steward – a good estate plan reduces death taxes and probate expenses, leaving more for you to pass to your family and charitable causes at your death.

· To avoid the “Will” the state has written for you – Kentucky’s “Intestate Succession Statute” – the state’s plan of asset distribution may not meet your family’s needs or accomplish your estate planning objectives.

· To retain input - Making a Will allows you to determine who will get your “stuff” (your assets) and how the recipients will receive your “stuff” at your death.

· Making a Will allows you to designate whom you want to be appointed as guardian for your children if both parents die before your children reach age 18.

· Making a Will assures smooth administration (probate) of your estate at your death.

· Making a Will allows you to name an executor who will handle the tasks of determining what you own at death, paying your final debts and expenses, managing the assets in your estate, preparing all required tax returns and distributing your assets as your Will directs.

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation’s “Estate Planning Mistakes and Solutions” seminar can provide more answers about why you need a Will. Contact Richard Carnes at richard.carnes@kybaptist.org to schedule this one hour, free seminar at your church.

Also, if you have questions about Christian estate planning strategies or want to request a private estate stewardship consultation, please contact the Kentucky Baptist Foundation’s trust counsel, Laurie Valentine at laurie.valentine@kybaptist.org or call the Foundation’s toll-free number (866) 489-3533.

Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, P O Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; toll-free (866) 489-3533; KYBaptistFoundation.org

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.








Monday, December 19, 2016

Year End Tax Planning

By: Laurie Valentine

With December 31 fast approaching, now is a good time to review tax planning actions that you have already taken this year and to discuss with your tax adviser other things you may be able to do before year-end to further reduce your 2016 income taxes.

If you will be in a lower tax bracket in 2017, it may be prudent to defer some of this year’s income until next year and to pay deductible items that you would normally pay in early 2017 before December 31, 2016.

Business and professional people who use the cash accounting method may be able to defer the receipt of income by not billing until year-end for services rendered in 2016. The receipt of a bonus that your employer is free to give or not give can be deferred into next year to lower your 2016 compensation income.

Pay real estate taxes and the January 15 installment of state and local income taxes before December 31 to accelerate these deductible items into the 2016 tax year. If possible, pay all medical bills, if the total will exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, before year-end to be able to use that expense as a deduction, if you itemize.

Another income tax deduction that is very easy to accelerate is the charitable deduction. You have total control on when this deduction will be available; all you have to do is complete your charitable gifts before December 31.

Make time for year-end tax planning with your advisers; it can beneficial to you and to the charitable causes you wish to support.

Laurie Valentine is COO and Trust Counsel for the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; (502) 489-3533 or 1-866-489-3533 (Toll-free, Kentucky Only); KYBaptistFoundation.org

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, December 14, 2016

Your Christian Legacy

By: Richard Carnes 

Have you given much thought to what your legacy will be? Most of us desire to make a difference in the lives of our loved ones. We take steps to ensure they will be taken care of when we are no longer here on this earth. Through proper financial estate preparation we are able to provide this care. But have you also thought about memorializing your Christian faith through the written statement of your last will and testament?

Estate documents present a wonderful opportunity to leave behind a written testimony of your faith in Christ. Evangelist Dwight L. Moody’s Will contained this great example as a lasting expression of his eternal confidence in Christ. “You may have heard that I died. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am alive and well, enjoying the presence of God for eternity. It’s my hope that you will take great joy in my recent promotion. It’s also my prayer and request that if you haven’t discovered the truth about God sending His son to die on the cross so that none should perish, you will seek His truth with great urgency as a personal favor to me.” Another enduring, clear statement was left by Patrick Henry, one of America’s Founding Fathers, who said, “If I had all the goods this world can offer but had not faith in Christ, I would amongst all men be poor indeed.”

You can create your own letter to loved ones, affirming and encouraging them. Consider joining the many Christians who, as a part of their estate planning, have made such statements either by incorporating them into the text of their planning documents, or in letters to be found with their documents following their death. Such statements would be treasured and serve as a witness to those you leave behind.

The staff of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation are available to you for a private, confidential estate stewardship and legacy planning consultation. To request a consultation, please contact the Foundation’s trust counsel, Laurie Valentine, or me at our toll-free number (866) 489-3533.

Richard Carnes is the president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; toll-free (866) 489-3533; KYBaptistFoundation.org.

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, December 2, 2016

Preparing for the Future

By: Richard Carnes

Scripture and life experiences teach that there are important differences between capital and income. Income is earned on a regular basis and is spent meeting daily needs. Unspent income typically becomes part of our capital and is invested in savings accounts, houses, retirement accounts, businesses and more. We work hard to accumulate sufficient capital over our working years to enable us to live off the income the capital produces when we cease working to earn a regular salary.

Another word for capital might be “endowment”. An endowment is simply a collection of assets that are invested to produce income that can be used for personal or charitable purposes. We most commonly think of endowment as financial assets and investments, but the Old Testament contains significant examples of God using capital to advance His Kingdom. In reading Genesis 41 we learn of a time early in Israel’s history when God used Joseph to advise the king of Egypt to store grain in anticipation of a looming seven years of famine. God inspired Joseph, and this grain storage became an endowment that kept the people from starvation. From this saved population descended the Savior of the world.

As we evaluate what God has entrusted to us in the way of capital assets within our estates, we must acknowledge the three possible destinations for our assets. We can transfer assets to loved ones, to Christian ministries that have significantly impacted our lives, or we can endow the U.S. Government through taxes paid to the Internal Revenue Service. Fortunately, many faithful Baptists are looking at the ministries of their churches and prayerfully considering what God is inspiring them to do. Individuals can help sustain Christian ministries during a time when their local church may experience a “famine” of financial support for regular ministry efforts.

To make intentional plans to care for your families and the ministries God is inspiring you to support, the Kentucky Baptist Foundation is a resource to call upon. If you have questions or desire a private estate stewardship consultation, please contact the Foundation’s trust counsel, Laurie Valentine, or me at our toll-free number (866) 489-3533.

Richard Carnes is the president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, P O Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; toll-free (866) 489-3533; KYBaptistFoundation.org.

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, November 4, 2016

Gifts That Pay You Income

By: Laurie Valentine

Would you like to provide future support to your church or another favorite Baptist cause while receiving guaranteed income for the rest of your life, management of assets and tax savings? If your answer is yes, a charitable gift annuity may be just what you are looking for.

A charitable gift annuity is a contract between you and the Kentucky Baptist Foundation under which you agree to make a gift of cash or appreciated stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares and, in exchange for your gift, the Kentucky Baptist Foundation agrees to pay you (or you and one other person) a fixed amount each year (“annuity”) for the rest of your life.

The annuity payment amount depends upon the value of what you give and your age at the time you make the gift. The older you are the higher the payment rate. The annuity payment amount is not dependent on what your gift earns.

At your death, whatever is left of your gift is distributed to the charitable cause or causes you have named to be used as you direct.

Tax savings may be available from the charitable income tax deduction that is allowable and also from the fact that part of each payment you receive is tax-free. Those tax benefits can make the cost of making a charitable gift annuity gift very reasonable.

Using appreciated stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares to establish a charitable gift annuity can also provide capital gains tax savings.

Laurie Valentine is COO and Trust Counsel for the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; (502) 489-3533 or 1-866-489-3533 (Toll-free, Kentucky Only); KYBaptistFoundation.org

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, November 3, 2016

Year End Giving



By: Richard Carnes

Making charitable gifts is not only an opportunity for you to make a difference in your community through a favorite charitable ministry; it’s also an excellent way to reduce your tax burden for the year. 

A tax deduction for charitable giving isn’t guaranteed just because you’re generous. As with everything in tax law, it’s important to follow the rules. By doing so, you can help ensure that your donations result in maximum benefits for you and the chosen charitable organizations you support through your gifts.

The Internal Revenue Service offers the following reminders to help taxpayers plan their gifts to charity:

· Qualified charities. Only donations to eligible organizations are tax-deductible. Select Check, a searchable online tool available on IRS.gov, lists most organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. In addition, churches are eligible to receive deductible donations. That is true even if they are not listed in the tool’s database.

· Year-end gifts. Contributions are deductible in the year made. Donations by check count for 2016 as long as they are mailed in 2016. Also, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2016 count for 2016, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2017.

· Itemize deductions. For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions. This deduction is not available to individuals who choose the standard deduction.

· Record donations. The long-standing requirement of the IRS is that a taxpayer obtain an acknowledgement from a charity for each deductible donation (either cash or property) of $250 or more. Also, be aware that additional rules apply for a property contribution of $250 or more.

As you begin to look beyond 2016, you may also wish to consider arranging for future charitable gifts that result in immediate tax and other financial benefits. By doing so, you may be able to enjoy tax savings, increased income and other financial advantages today while providing for a significant charitable gift to a favorite Baptist ministry as part of your long-range planning.

If you have questions about these gift-planning strategies, please call the Foundation’s trust counsel, Laurie Valentine or me at our toll-free number, (866) 489-3533.

Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; toll-free (866) 489-3533; KYBaptistFoundation.org

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, October 5, 2016

Double Tax Savings Giving

By: Laurie Valentine

With financial market ups and downs over the past few years there probably have been times when your stocks, bonds and/or mutual fund shares have been worth considerably more than what you paid for them and times when that has not been the case. And, that same pattern will continue in the future.

For those considering an above-and-beyond gift to their church, or one of our KBC or SBC ministries, using appreciated securities to fund that gift may be a better choice than giving cash. That’s because your gift of appreciated stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares can provide both income tax savings, if you itemized deductions on your income tax return, and capital gains tax savings.

The income tax deduction value of your gift is the current price you would get if you sold the security, not what you paid for it. And, by giving the appreciated security you avoid the capital gain (difference between current market value and what you paid for the security) you would have to report if you had sold it.

Appreciated stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares can be used for outright gifts or to fund a gift that pays you an income for life with remainder to the charitable cause or causes you designate at your death.

Tap in to the potential for double tax savings by prayerfully considering a gift of appreciated securities.

Laurie Valentine is COO and Trust Counsel for the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; (502) 489-3533 or 1-866-489-3533 (Toll-free, Kentucky Only); KYBaptistFoundation.org

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.