I have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with a well-known financial institution. A few weeks ago I spent 15-20 minutes updating my beneficiaries, so that churches I pastored through the years would receive a percentage of my retirement account. Most often beneficiaries are associated with insurance policies, but annuities, IRAs, 401ks, 403bs are all passed down through a beneficiary designation.
What does “beneficiary” mean? A beneficiary is the person or organization who will receive the financial benefit when I 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 type 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 here or call us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana