By now, everybody knows that our church has reached a very exciting but critical stage in its life. Maintenance and restoration of our buildings can no longer be deferred. At the same time, we are blessed with a very responsive congregation. The overwhelming majority of our members have pledged their support towards the preservation project.
However, for some of us, the churchâ€™s fund-raising efforts have raised a number of serious questions and it is part of our ministry together to address these as well. I am speaking of the difficult questions of estate planning. Some of us perceive a great conflict between their need of financial security during old age and their heartfelt desire to support First Reformed Church at this critical stage in its development. Ultimately, the weight of this conflict prevents some of our donors from enjoying the result of their gift during their life-time.
The question is only whether the conflict as described is necessary. A little education in matters of estate planning may help alleviate much of the perceived tension.
It may also help to shield an estate from unnecessary taxation. Did you know, for example, that the 2006 Pension Protection Act allows everybody who has an IRA account and is 70Â½ years old, to donate up to $100,000 per year to a non-profit organization like our church? According to this law, the donation cannot count as taxable income. Yet it qualifies as a mandatory IRA withdrawal. Unfortunately, the law extends only until December 31, 2007.
However, as pastors we have only limited knowledge with regards to estate planning. But we would like to encourage you to seek the advice of a professional. It is best to use a person you trust. Perhaps you have an accountant or an insurance agent who could help. If you wish, our church office can also refer you to persons who are trained in estate planning. Just give us a call at 732-545-1005.