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Planned Giving and the Legacy Society
Frequently Asked Questions


1.  What is Planned Giving?  Planned Giving refers to a gift made to the church as part of an estate plan.  It is most often done through a Will or a Trust, but could also take the form of a beneficiary designation (of an IRA or life insurance, for example) or an annuity.  Planned Giving is a way to become part of something much larger than yourself, linking generations. It allows you to leave a legacy for your family and church based on what you valued during your life.


2.  What is the Legacy Society?    The Legacy Society consists of members of the congregation who have made a planned gift to the church.  The size or amount of the gift is not important and does not need to be disclosed to the church or anyone else.


3.  What will the money be used for?  Unrestricted gifts and bequests less than $2500 will be deposited to the church’s invested funds unless the Giving Ministry and Church Council determine that the gift would be more appropriately used for an urgent current need. Gifts and bequests with a specific purpose stated by the donor will be used accordingly.

Unrestricted gifts over $2500 will be handled as follows:

  • 10% for outreach beyond the walls of South Church to be determined by Giving Ministry jointly with Faith in Action Ministry;

  • Up to 20% for current needs or special projects to be determined by the Church Council upon recommendation of the Giving Ministry

  • Not less than 70% to the church’s unrestricted investment funds


4.  How can I benefit the church if I want to leave my assets to my family?  Many individuals wish to name their children or other family members as their primary heirs.  This should not be an impediment to leaving a partial gift to the church. Some Legacy Society members have chosen to divide their estate in order to benefit both (for example, leaving 5% to the church and 95% to family members).  Many parents feel that by leaving a portion of their estate to the church, they are also teaching their children an important lesson about giving.


5.  What if I don’t have a lot of money?  Any gift, regardless of size, is meaningful.  It is possible to leave the church a percentage of your estate, rather than a dollar amount.  This allows for a self-adjusting gift, which will work for your estate regardless of the total value of your assets.  Every individual, regardless of their net worth, needs to consider an estate plan in order to give instructions to family members about what to do with various assets.  


6.  How do I make a Planned Gift?  You should speak to a lawyer about your personal situation.  If you don’t know a lawyer, talk to any member of the Planned Giving Committee for a referral (Tina Annis; email:, Peter Imse, Oge Young, Deborah Carley).

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