A tithe in death

I recently attended a church which had a little notation on the back of the bulletin (among other little notes):

Free will and estate planning. Won’t you consider giving a Legacy Gift? Call now.

Personally I am really torn about this concept and I’d like to hear what the Catholics and non-Catholics have to say about this.

Personally, I have no issue with it. Universities are doing the same thing. In fact, I think that Catholic Answers has that as an option, too.

Many people include charitable gifts in their wills. If you would consider leaving a gift to the college you attended or the local symphony, why not also consider leaving a gift to your church?

I have a cousin from my dad’s side…his aunt was Catholic…she was very well off. She left $80k to her parish when she died.

I have my estate, small as it is, split up between my nieces and nephews college fund trust, local Meeting AND the American Friends Service Committee. If one of the kids decides not to attend college…the money goes to AFSC.

In what way are you “torn” about this? What do you perceive as problematic?

Maybe I need a little more money. I’ve only been blessed with little but I’m pretty sure I want that to go to my family. At first blush, it doesn’t seem selfish, but when considering the Church or my children, it seems that if I choose my children it is slighting God.

From a Biblical perspective, I guess I’ve just always thought about property being passed from father to son without much mention of the Church.

there are ways of structuring your estate planning to accomplish both goals, charitable giving and legacies to your children. In this way you can also avoid taxes, so that both the charity (or church if that is your choice) and your heirs get the maximum amount. The thinking behind a gift to your church after death is the same as for all tithing, the spirituality of recognizing that all you have has been received as a gift from God and belongs to him, not to you, your children, or anyone else. The whole process of estate planning can be a spiritual exercise if it helps you reflect on death and the afterlife.

It has been a while since I have taken Wills and Estates Law, but as I recall, even with the changes I think slated for 2010, I still think it is something like 90% of Americans’ estates will go untaxed (on a Federal level). I definitely remember the Death Tax hype being nothing more than hype.

After my home is sold, and what’s left of my retirement is divy’ed up…it will be a nice boost to their college fund.

I have no living children…and no spouse…so my siblings children will benefit. The Meeting too could stands some help…always repairs on the meetinghouse to do and AFSC’s work is very worth while…I don’t plan on “going” any time soon…but should I be Called…I want my house in order.

More often than not, people haven’t made plans and that creates a not so good time for others. That and the courts have to be involved (more than necessary).

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