Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Generosity: Become a doer of the word!

By: French B. Harmon, PhD


Many people in Kentucky were touched by the generosity of the late Ward F. Correll. International Mission Board (SBC) President Dr. Paul Chitwood said, "Ward Correll was the most generous man I've ever met." Among his many recognitions was a 2003 award as Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraisers, Bluegrass Chapter. This Baptist laymen from Somerset understood many of biblical principles regarding generosity and sought to live with a grateful attitude toward the things of God.
 

 

As Mr. Correll's pastor, I was honored to preach his funeral in 2016. As believers, we acknowledge a "person preaches their own funeral" but he certainly gave me plenty of biblical examples to share on that occasion. Here are few of the principles that were presented

 

  1. Build the Kingdom. One of Correll's favorite verses was "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all of these things will be added to you." He learned early in his life to invest in the things that really matter--Church, Christian institutions and Christ-honoring charities. These are ways a person can have a lasting impact on the Christ's Kingdom. United States Congressman Hal Rogers said of Correll, "His generosity was a vast as his business ingenuity, and he used both to inspire everyone around him." I would suggest that you to specifically list your church, Christian institutions, seminaries and Christ-honoring charities in your estate plans. Call the Kentucky Baptist Foundation for assistance.

 

  1. Bless people. Another powerful biblical principal that I presented in the funeral message was the concept of encouragement. I Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (NIV)." Ward Correll made it his passion to be generous to people in need. He would often says, " Its all God's. We are just to help people on the journey. A practical lesson for each believer is to pray for "divine appointments." Often God will allow Christians to be the hands, feet and even the means to bless another person. Having a generous attitude could mean doing things that "only God may know about." It was amazing to hear the stories of how Correll had used his resources to bless others in their moment of need.

 

  1. Bloom where you are planted. This popular phase has a biblical root. In Matthew 7:17 and 20 says, "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit...by their fruits you shall know them." A person will be remembered by the fruit they leave behind and pay forward. Jesus encourages his followers to make a difference wherever you are. Ward Correll could have taken the resources and lived an opulent life. But he chose live a simply and be a devoted follower Christ. Being a "doer" will allow each of us to think of ways to be generous. Developing a Christ-like attitude comes from spending time reading the Bible and having time alone with God. As we allow God to mold us into His image an amazing thing takes place--we bloom! We begin to see opportunities to invest in people and causes that have eternal significance. Randy Alcorn wrote about possessions in the Treasure Principle, "You can not take it with you, but you can send it on ahead." I can think of numerous ministries that need a boost about now. Call me at the KBF and we can have a conversation about how you can make a difference now. 

 

The poet Deborah Ann Belka wrote about being a generous and kind person. She was inspired after reading Galatians 5:22-23 and the fruit of the Spirit.

 

                                                 "Disperse some generosity,

                                                  it can go a long, long way

                                                  to energize and cheer up

                                                  someone sad you meet today.

 

                                                 Scatter seeds of kindness,

                                                 let goodwill be what you sow

                                                 how they make others feel

                                                 you will never really know."

 

 

French Harmon 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.

 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Twice Blessed

By: Richard Carnes

As I sit here in my temporary home work space, as many of you are during the COVID-19 virus outbreak, I’ve reflected on what final words I want to express in my last column as President of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. I am a fortunate individual that has been blessed, not once but twice, to serve in an executive leadership role with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. The opportunity to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through this legacy stewardship ministry and to be a fellow servant with the KBF board of directors and my staff colleagues is an honor and privilege I will forever cherish.

I want to take the next few moments to express appreciation to several significant relationships and parties. First, I want to express appreciation to the 17 members of the KBF Board of Directors, for their steadfast support, wisdom, and encouragement in directing the financial ministry of the Foundation.

I also want to express appreciation to a dedicated KBF staff I’ve been honored to serve with as colleagues. They are a solid group of professionals who foster a wonderful atmosphere of collegiality and exhibit a commitment to serve every one of our clients in a Christ honoring way. They’ve been a constant blessing to me.

As well I want to express appreciation to KBC Executive Director Dr. Todd Gray and all the KBC Mission Board leadership for the strong partnership support we have with the KBC in serving Kentucky Baptists.

I especially want to express thanks to our donors and clients, who through the past 75 years have called upon the services of the KBF and created funds through the Foundation. Their generosity has enabled us to distribute in excess of $194 million during these 75 years, to Baptist ministry causes as directed by these faithful donors and clients.

I’m happy to report the Foundation is sound and stands on solid footing through this very uncertain period in our country as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, we’ve all taken a bit of a punch, and it may have knocked a little wind out of us, but we’re still standing, we’re still in the arena, and we continue to proclaim the great Good News that Christ is on the throne and reigns eternal. I’m so proud of our Kentucky Baptist churches and the way they have used this pandemic circumstance to expand the communication of the Gospel and literally taken the message outside the four walls of the church and into the community through creative technology.

I look forward to the advancement of the KBF’s legacy stewardship ministry, and I know the next president will be equally blessed with the opportunity to serve such a special group of people called Kentucky Baptists!

Richard Carnes is retiring as president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation on June 30th, 2020.

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 19, 2020

A Place to Start

By: Richard Carnes

When working with individuals seeking guidance from the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, we are often asked for suggestions on how best to begin a person’s estate planning process. We suggest using the following four steps as a framework for organizing your thoughts.

People

The people in your life are central to the planning process. List those individuals for whom you are now financially responsible and those whom you would like to assist in the future. This is also the place where you could list your church, and other Christian ministry causes as part of your “family.”

Property

Next, we suggest listing your property. Think of everything you own, including financial assets and tangible property. Begin with income from all sources (salary, investments, rental property, etc.) Also include any current balances in pension plans, individual retirement accounts (IRA’s), 401K plans and other retirement plans. Beside each asset, list its current value. Next to its value, list its cost. Finally, note whether it is owned outright or with others.

Plans

Your plans begin to take shape as you review the list of persons and consider how you wish to provide for them. Study the various assets you listed to determine which ones may match the needs of each person or charitable cause you identified as important to you.

Planners

At the top of the list of planners will often be an attorney and an accountant. Your attorney drafts your will and other legal documents. Your accountant can provide valuable advice on tax matters as well as other estate planning issues, in consultation with your attorney. Others who may participate include life insurance professionals, financial planners, real estate professionals and trust officers.

The Kentucky Baptist Foundation is honored to work with individuals seeking how best to organize their planning goals to achieve their personal and charitable objectives, to support their families, their church and other Baptist causes.

To learn more, call upon the Kentucky Baptist Foundation as a helpful partner.

Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; www.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, April 13, 2020

The Secure Act and the Charitable IRA Rollover Gift (QCD)

By: Richard Carnes

The “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” Act, aka the SECURE Act, was signed into law on December 20, 2019. The SECURE Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, changes many of the rules governing retirement plans, including several provisions relevant to making charitable IRA rollover gifts (also known as qualified charitable distributions or QCDs.)

Under the SECURE Act, the charitable IRA rollover, or QCD, remains a terrific way to make a tax-free gift to your church and Baptist ministries using your traditional IRA.

How Do I Qualify?

· You must be 70½ years old or older at the time of the gift

· Gifts must go directly from your IRA to the qualified charity

· Gifts must come from a traditional or Roth IRA account

· Gifts cannot exceed $100,000 per donor per year

· You cannot receive a benefit in return for your gift, such as tickets to a gala

Benefits of a Charitable IRA Rollover Gift (QCD)

The SECURE Act increased the age at which you must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from 70½ to 72. Once you reach 72, one of the great benefits of a QCD is that it will count towards your RMD. However, even if you have not reached age 72, there are still good reasons to consider a QCD at 70½. First, a QCD offers all the benefits of an income tax charitable deduction, even if you don’t itemize your deductions. You can’t claim a deduction for your QCD, but your QCD is not included in your income. Your QCD is always a tax-free gift.

Another change brought on by the SECURE Act is the elimination of the stretch IRA for many beneficiaries. With a few exceptions, children and other non-spouses who are more than 10 years younger than you no longer can stretch their withdrawals from an IRA they inherit from you over their life expectancy. Instead, they must withdraw and pay income tax on all funds within 10 years. This change means that it may be most tax efficient for you to support Baptist ministries and provide for your heirs by making QCDs during your life and setting aside other assets to pass on to your loved ones.

To learn more, call upon the Kentucky Baptist Foundation as a helpful partner.

Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; www.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, February 13, 2020

A Gift of Love

By: Richard Carnes

February is filled with reminders to express our love and affection to those close to us. We may express this affection through greeting cards, bouquets of flowers and candle lite dinners. All these gestures can be memorable, but they are temporary in nature.

A lasting way to say “I love you” is by making provision to care for your loved ones, yourself, and charities important to you through creating a written estate plan. Knowing where to begin, what to look for, and what you might expect can help turn this task into an effective plan. A great place to start the process of creating an estate plan that reflects your goals and values is through the Kentucky Baptist Foundation’s Estate Plan Organizer, located on our website, KYBaptistFoundation.org. The Estate Plan Organizer will take you through the estate planning process easily and at your own pace. The whole process can be completed in as few as 30 minutes and you can save your work at any time and return to the Organizer at your convenience.

When you have completed the Organizer, you will have a well thought out design for your estate that reflects your priorities. You will then be well prepared to work with your attorney and financial advisors, who will assist you in structuring an estate and financial plan that best achieves your goals.

An estate plan may not be a glamorous gift, but it is a valuable gift… a gift of love.

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 families, their church and other Baptist causes. To learn more, call upon the Kentucky Baptist Foundation as a helpful partner.

Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; www.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, January 16, 2020

Life Decisions

When composing or updating wills and estate documents, a couple will naturally discuss how to divide their estate. Many questions arise during these discussions. Do you leave equal amounts to your children? Will each child be a wise steward of the inheritance or have they proven irresponsible with money? Do you include any provisions for legacy gifts to the charities with which you are connected?

These are difficult questions, and adults often delay creating or updating a will to avoid answering them. As we wrestle with these questions, keep the following in mind:


  • During their lifetimes, parents often give unequal amounts to children based on different needs – but they hesitate to leave unequal bequests, for they don’t want their last words to seem to convey unequal affection. 
  • If you do plan to leave unequal bequests to your children, talk to them while you are living: explain what you are doing and why. 
  • You can treat children and family members fairly without providing for them in the same way. For example, a prudent way to provide for a family member who is unsophisticated with money is through a trust from which the family member will receive regular income but have limited access to principal of the trust. 
  • Your Christian values can be a part of your estate legacy. By including Christian ministries in your estate plan, you set an example to your family and community of your commitment as a Christ follower. 
The Kentucky Baptist Foundation staff works to help clients achieve their personal and charitable goals, including how to provide for their families and support their church and other Baptist causes. We cannot relieve you of the hard choices you have to make when dividing your estate among children and other family members, but we can assist you with ways to make estate gifts to fulfill your family and charitable objectives. To make intentional plans for your family and the ministries God is inspiring you to support, call upon the Kentucky Baptist Foundation as a helpful partner.



Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, PO Box 436389, Louisville, KY 40253; www.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.