Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Why the Delay?

By: Richard Carnes

Many people have the good intention of making financial plans to care for their family and charitable causes important to them, but those same people procrastinate. Here are often cited reasons for delaying action on your will – and responses to each.

1. “Everything my spouse and I own is in joint tenancy, so we don’t need a will.”

Although your home, automobiles, and bank accounts may be in joint tenancy, there are probably some assets that are individually owned. Furthermore, a will is necessary to dispose of property at the death of the survivor or in the event both spouses die in a common incident.

2. “We completed and estate plan with an attorney ten years ago, and nothing has changed since then.”

Even if the family circumstances are essentially the same, your assets have likely changed. Also, there have been significant changes in the laws affecting gift and estate taxes, so additional planning options may now be available.

3. “We have a living trust for the management and disposition of our assets.”

It is highly unlikely that you have transferred everything you own to the living trust, so you need at least a “pour over will” that would transfer all non-trust property to the trust.

4. “Based on conversations with friends, developing an estate plan is very expensive.”

The cost may be less than you expect, especially if you do not have a complicated estate. Also, the amount you spend now may be far less than the cost to your beneficiaries without a thoughtful plan.

5. “I’m just too busy now. I expect to be around for a while. I’ll do it later.”

Procrastination when you have no will leads to state law determining the division of your assets. Procrastination when you have an out-of-date will could lead to unintended consequences that then creates dissension between family.

An up-to-date plan brings peace of mind, freeing you to live life without a nagging sense that something is undone. To make intentional plans to care for your family and ministry causes, call upon the Kentucky Baptist Foundation as a helpful partner.

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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

An Attitude of Legacy Giving

By: Richard Carnes

In most churches, the stewardship focus has been on tithes and offering giving that comes from member’s income and “liquid assets”, which may represent only a small portion of a person’s net worth. Certainly it is good for the church to instill this discipline of current giving, but the discipline of financial stewardship should also include an attitude of legacy giving.

It is imperative that churches provide education and encouragement to its members in seeing their available financial resources much more broadly than just the cash that is placed into the offering plate. These resources can also be a person’s non-cash assets (which on average represent 91% of a person’s net worth).

Church leaders can make great strides in impacting the church’s financial future by seizing the opportunity to teach their church members to become “Kingdom-minded” stewards through the following ways:

  • Teach members what the Bible reveals about an authentic stewardship lifestyle.
  • Help members realize that how they plan their estate likely will be the most significant act of financial stewardship they will ever make.
  • Encourage members to have and up-to-date Christian estate plan.
  • Educate members on how to accomplish their charitable giving objectives through having and attitude of legacy giving. 

The great news for church leaders is that they are not alone in preparing this type of Christian estate stewardship education and training for its members. The Kentucky Baptist Foundation stands ready to help facilitate this training of church members to become “Kingdom-minded” stewards. An active part of the Foundation’s service is the conducting of no cost seminars and teaching series on financial and estate planning at churches and associations. Also the Foundation staff is available to individuals for free, private estate stewardship consultation as they consider their estate planning, incapacity planning, and charitable gift planning.

How does a church get started in helping its members develop and attitude of legacy giving? An excellent first step is to contact the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. You may contact us 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.











Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Senior Celebration

By: Richard Carnes

Annually the Kentucky Baptist Convention conducts a wonderful multi-site event entitled Senior Living Celebrations for Kentucky Baptist senior adults. This year’s theme is Race Of A Lifetime, based on the scripture passage of Hebrews 12:1. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate at either Beacon Hill Baptist Church, Somerset on April 16, Parkway Baptist Church, Bardstown on April 17 or Second Baptist, Hopkinsville on April 19. The Kentucky Baptist Foundation is honored to again sponsor the breakfast at each celebration and provide leadership for one of the workshops that will be offered during this event.

This popular Kentucky Baptist Convention event is always well attended by enthusiastic senior adults who come to worship, learn, and celebrate life together. This year, there will be a dozen workshops at each location, covering topics such as creative drama in ministry, being the hands and feet of Christ through volunteering, missions and ministry opportunities for seniors, travel tips for your next senior adult trip, and more.

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation’s trust counsel, Austin Wilkerson, will lead an excellent workshop session titled “Estate Planning Mistakes and Solutions”, that helps attendees discover what the biggest estate planning mistakes are and how to avoid them to assure you make the most of what you have. The session will also detail the essential aspects of key incapacity planning tools including Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Advance Directives, and Living Wills.

Austin and I hope to see you at one of the upcoming Senior Living Celebration events, so you too can be inspired to “run with perseverance”. Come join us for breakfast and be sure to attend one of Austin’s workshop sessions during the day. If you are not able to attend, you may always contact us directly to discuss how best to organize your estate planning goals to achieve your personal and charitable objectives to support your church and other Baptist causes. To learn more, you may contact Austin Wilkerson, 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.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sources of Charity

By: Richard Carnes

Suppose a person has a total estate of $1,000,000 but only $200,000 of it is governed by his will. If he includes in his will a charitable bequest of 10 percent of his residual estate, the charity would receive no more than $20,000, which may be far less than he intended.

Such a scenario is far more likely than one might imagine. Consider what the following assets have in common: 




  • Real estate and bank accounts held in joint tenancy. 
  • Bank and brokerage accounts transferable on death to a beneficiary. 
  • Life insurance proceeds payable to named beneficiaries. 
  • Retirement benefits payable to a spouse, children, or others. 

The answer is that none of these assets is controlled by your will. They all transfer directly to the joint tenant or named beneficiary. If you neither owned nor had an interest in assets other than those on this list, your will would have no effect—and the intended beneficiaries of your will (charitable and otherwise) would get nothing. Of course, most of us do own other assets that are governed by our will. 

When developing an estate plan, it is essential to coordinate probate assets (those that pass under your will) and non-probate assets (those that pass outside your will). Failure to do this can result in unintended inequities.

If you are planning an end-of-life gift to your church or other Christian ministry, you should consider which assets might be the source of that gift. Keep in mind that there are numerous ways of planning a gift besides providing a charitable bequest. Here are three: 

  • You could name your church as a beneficiary of remaining retirement funds (a type of gift that has significant tax advantages). 
  • You could make your church a beneficiary of a life insurance policy. 
  • You could sign a transfer-on-death beneficiary form for a bank or brokerage account. 
To make intentional plans to care for your family and ministries God is inspiring you to support, call upon the Kentucky Baptist Foundation as a helpful partner. You may contact us 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; (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.










Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Starting the New Year

By: Richard Carnes

Most of us look at the start of a new year as a time for setting fresh goals in many areas of life. These goals typically revolve around common themes such as better health habits (I want to lose 15 pounds), improving personal relationships (I’ll be more attentive to my spouse) or better life balance (I’ll no longer take work projects home each evening). This is also a time when many of us will review and update our financial plans to make sure the plan will provide adequate financial security for our family.

As we consider strategies for accomplishing our personal and charitable financial goals for 2018 and beyond, we should schedule time to do the following:
  • Identify your sources of income and expenses
  • Determine the value of your assets and the income (if any) they produce.
  • Review the needs of family members and others, including your church, and consider any changes that may be needed in your plans. 
  • Define your goals for the management and future distribution of financial assets.
  • Make a detailed list of your assets, such as home (including furnishings) and other real estate, vehicles and other personal property, financial accounts, retirement plans and other investments, including their original cost and current market value. 
It is also beneficial to meet with your professional advisors to review and establish your personal and charitable financial goals. Your financial advisor, life insurance representative, accountant, attorney or other specialist can help you evaluate your specific circumstances and guide you in structuring an estate and financial plan that best achieves your goals.

Regular reviews of your long-range estate and financial plans are the best way to make certain your desires for the management and disposition of your property are up to date and meet your current needs.

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation is honored to work with individuals seeking how best to organize their estate planning goals to achieve their personal and charitable objectives to support their church and other Baptist causes. To learn more, you may contact the Foundation staff 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.











Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Do I Really Need A Will?

By: Richard Carnes

Is it truly necessary for us to have wills? This is a common question we receive at the Foundation.

The answer is: Yes, you need a will!

Yes, there are multiple ways to pass property to a surviving spouse, such as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, and beneficiary designations. Nevertheless, everyone should have a will for the following six reasons:


  1. There likely are items of personal property—jewelry, collections, household items, etc.—that you and your spouse own individually and that are not governed by joint tenancy or beneficiary designation. 
  2. Even supposing that everything passes to your surviving spouse by right of survivorship or beneficiary designation, the surviving spouse would need a will to direct the disposition of assets upon his or her death. 
  3. If you and your spouse should die in a common disaster without wills, your property would be distributed per the intestacy laws of the state in which you reside—and these laws might not conform to your wishes. Also, the person selected by the court to administer your estate might not be the person you would have chosen. 
  4. If you have minor children and are not survived by a spouse, you can designate a guardian for your children in a will. 
  5. In a will you can provide for the particular needs of your children and other loved ones. For example, you might establish trusts for children or grandchildren when a stream of income is more advisable than a lump-sum gift. 
  6. In a will you can leave some portion of your estate to your local church and other Christian ministries. You can also do this by naming a charity as beneficiary of an insurance policy, a retirement fund, or a bank or investment account. But when you have a will, you can choose which gifts to make in your will and which to make by beneficiary designation. 
Call upon the Kentucky Baptist Foundation as a helpful partner in these vital planning decisions. You may contact us at our toll-free number (866) 489-3533.

Richard Carnes is the president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation.

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 15, 2017

Giving with Appreciation

By: Richard Carnes

Many individuals are reviewing their charitable contributions at the year end and considering how they could provide additional gifts to their church and ministry causes. Perhaps you would like to make gifts above what you give out of income as tithes and offerings to provide on-going support to additional Baptist causes.

One such way to achieve this giving is to use assets that have appreciated in value for making “above and beyond” gifts to support the Christian ministries that are important to you. If you have investment securities you have owned for more than a year that are worth more than the security cost, consider using this asset to make gifts.

Your deduction will actually be based on the full value of the security. In addition, you will not owe capital gains tax that would normally be due on a sale of the security.

Using an appreciated asset to make a gift to your church or other Baptist cause can result in a lower after-tax cost to make your gift than if you use the same amount of cash to make the donation. Savings from the charitable deduction and the bypass of capital gains can be considerable. How much you save depends on your actual income and capital gains tax rates.

The process of making gifts of appreciated securities need not be complicated. If your financial advisor holds the securities for your account, instruct that the security be electronically transferred to the financial account of the designated charity. This is often the most convenient way of making your gift.

When giving securities, including mutual funds, bonds, notes or mortgages, specific advice and instructions should be obtained from your financial advisor. Additional time should be allowed for completion of such gift transactions.

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation staff is honored to work with individuals seeking how best to make gifts of appreciated assets to their church and other Baptist causes. To learn more, you may contact the Foundation staff at our toll-free number (866) 489-3533.

Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation

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.