I have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with a well-known financial institution. Recently they sent me a notice that it is time to update my beneficiaries. What does that mean?

While most often associated with insurance policies, there are several things that have beneficiaries. A beneficiary is the person or organization who will receive the financial benefit when you die. Yes, it is hard to think of my dying as a benefit. But in my dying I have the ability to benefit others. I am glad for that.

In this day and age, it is easy to update or change beneficiaries. In my case I can log on to my insurance provider or financial institution, click 3-4 times, and write in a new person. Or I can change the amounts or percentages given to the persons I already have listed. Depending on your plan, spouses may need to agree and sign off on beneficiary changes. As always, check with the company holding your plan.

The point is this: it is quick and simple to give my church part of my benefit. The wonderful thing about naming a church or ministry as a beneficiary is that it does not involve changing my will (or trust). Insurance and retirement beneficiaries exist outside the provisions of a will and are not subject to it.

For those of us in church this begs a couple of questions. First, “Who would I like to benefit when I die?”

Second, “Has my church ever asked its members to consider our ministry as a beneficiary?”

Sometimes planned giving does not have to be that complicated. Naming your church as beneficiary is a simple and effective way to support both God and the church family of which you have been part.

Need help? Your Foundation has help for this and other planned giving possibilities. You can reach us by clicking here or by calling 877-391-8811.

Would your church like help building stronger stewardship? Our Foundation is here to help. Give us a shout by clicking here or calling 877-391-8811.

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Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana