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Estate Planning

Louisiana Baptist Foundation is available to help you with estate planning.

If you desire to include the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in your estate plans, the Louisiana Baptist Foundation offers estate planning assistance. As a ministry partner of the Children's Home and an agency of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the Foundation does not charge a fee for this service (legal and/or CPA fees may be incurred in some circumstances). You may contact the Foundation at 318-445-4495 or Toll-Free 877-523-4636 or www.LBFinfo.org.

The Louisiana Baptist Foundation can provide you with the wise Christian counsel needed to help you write that last chapter of your autobiography. It will probably be the single largest act of Christian stewardship that you will ever perform.

The Stewardship of Estate Planning:

estate-planning-2.jpgWriting the Last Chapter of Your Autobiography

Estate planning may be the single largest act of stewardship that most of us as Christians will ever perform. Appropriate estate planning is a win-win for almost everyone. Whether we are nearing the end of our lives, contemplating retirement, or younger with a growing family, estate planning boils down to determining how, when, and to whom we will transfer the stewardship of what God has entrusted to us when we can no longer serve as stewards ourselves. Estate planning is like having the privilege of writing the last chapter of your autobiography!

Every year, the vast majority of Americans who die, do so without having prepared a valid estate plan.

A staggering 70% of Americans do not have a current will. This statistic is astounding, since the U.S. tax code provides significant incentives to prepare an estate plan. These incentives are designed to make it easy for very personal wishes to be known and followed, such as dealing with child custody, property distribution, or leaving a legacy of Christian values. A careful estate plan will often minimize costs related to settling the estate.

Why do Americans avoid the preparation and declaration of their final wishes (the essence of an estate plan), in such astounding numbers?

Many people seem to have a built-in dislike for legal documents. Such documents tend to be long and difficult to understand. However, compared to the legal intricacies of settling an estate without a plan, a well-defined estate plan is easy to prepare and understand.

The single biggest reason people fail to prepare an estate plan probably falls into the category of "life just gets in the way." For most people, the day-to-day routine is just too busy to find time to develop an effective estate plan. For others, it's the idea that no one plans to die, or certainly no one enjoys planning to die. Still others reason that no one can know the future and, after all, so much may change between today and the time of one's death.

As Christians, we need to realize that God's Word speaks clearly about what we are to do with the resources God provides us.

It is very important to understand God's Word on stewardship. "Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful" (1 Corinthians 4:2 ESV). The Greek term "steward" here includes a form of the word "house." It describes a household manager in the ancient Greek world who handled the finances for the owner. These managers or "stewards" were accountable to the owner for how they used their finances or material possessions. As Christians, we are the stewards - God is the owner.

A proper estate plan should accomplish the following:

 

Four Basic Estate Planning Documents Everyone Should Have in Place

estate-planning-3.jpg1) Current Will

Your will is a written document, signed by you and by two or more witnesses. In some states, your signature must be witnessed by a notary public. If the will is believed to be authentic by the probate court, it is used to determine the distribution of your property. If the will is not valid or you do not have a will, the court will follow state law for those without a will. Many of the court decisions might be completely contrary to your desires.

For example, without a valid will, a judge might choose guardians for your minor children, select trustees to manage your property and even award property to your distant relatives. The actions of this judge may be completely contrary to your desires. With a valid will, you are able to choose who will inherit your property and who will administer your estate as executor or personal representative. If you have minor children, you can choose a person to raise your children. With a trust, you are permitted to decide who will manage the trust for family members.

A valid will is an essential part of transferring your property at the right time to the right people at the lowest cost. Without a valid will, costs, delays and the probability of expensive conflict increase. You can provide a wonderful legacy for your family with an updated will and a sound estate plan.

2) Durable Power of Attorney for Finances

The durable power of attorney for finances allows you, during your lifetime and while you are competent, the opportunity to name someone to make financial decisions for you if you can no longer do so for yourself. A durable power of attorney for finances protects your property and yourself. If you are no longer able to manage your property, the person that you select in this durable power has the right to act as your agent. Even if you are disabled or incapacitated, this person will have the legal right to manage your property. If you do not have a durable power of attorney for finances, it will be necessary for the court to appoint a conservator.

The court may select any person as conservator and there often will be expensive reports, audits and costs in the management of your property. If you sign a durable power of attorney for finances, the person that you select may manage your property without all the expense of a court-appointed conservator.

Even spouses should have durable power of attorney for finances because some assets cannot be jointly owned such as IRA's, 401(k)'s, and even insurance policies are generally owned by one individual. You cannot access your spouse's retirement account or any cash value in a life insurance policy without a durable power of attorney for finances if they become incapacitated.

3) Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

There are two general types of healthcare directives - durable power of attorney for healthcare and a living will. In some states, they are combined into one document called an advanced directive.

The durable power of attorney for healthcare allows you to select a person who can assist your doctors in making healthcare decisions while you may be incapacitated. You may have a serious medical condition and the doctor will need the advice of another person regarding the best possible care for you. Your designated holder of the durable power of attorney for healthcare can help the doctors ensure that you have high-quality care.

4) Living Will

The living will gives your instructions regarding end of life issues and covers the time before your probable death. In the last days and weeks of life, there are a number of decisions regarding care, nutrition, hydration and resuscitation that need to be made. The living will gives you the opportunity to offer recommendations to medical staff about the types of care to be provided to you at that time.

 

Other Estate Planning Options and Benefits

Living Trusts

If you have a moderate or large estate, you may find it desirable to create a living trust. The living trust is completely within your control during your lifetime. You can add property to the trust or remove property from the trust at any time. During your lifetime, the trust income is taxable to you.

There are at least three major benefits of the living trust. If you are sick or in the hospital, your designated successor trustee can take over and manage your property for your benefit. Second, if you pass away, the property in the living trust will avoid probate and potentially save thousands of dollars in costs. Third, the living trust typically is a private document and is not made public during the probate process.

Custom Estate Plan for Business, Investments or Special Needs Child

If you own a family business, substantial real estate holdings or a large estate, then a custom plan that considers your special property goals and requirements should be created. Another custom plan option is important if you have a child with special needs. A child with special needs may be provided for through a "special needs trust." A special needs trust will facilitate care of the child by providing resources and directions. In some cases, a child may qualify to receive federal or state benefits if that is helpful in providing care for the special needs child.

IRA, 401(k) or Other Retirement Plan

Your IRA, 401(k) or other retirement plan is transferred by a beneficiary designation. Normally, the beneficiaries should be named on the IRA, and it should be given directly to family or charity, and not to your estate. The IRA or 401(k) custodian should provide a form for you to select a primary and contingent beneficiary. Because your retirement plan may represent a major portion of your property (30% to 70%), your beneficiary designation should be reviewed every two to four years.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is usually permanent (whole life or universal life) or term. The insurance policy is a contract, and there is a beneficiary designation form. You will select the primary and contingent beneficiary to receive the death benefit if you pass away with a valid insurance policy.

Charitable Remainder Trusts

A charitable remainder trust is an excellent way to benefit yourself, your spouse or other family members. It combines substantial tax savings with the ability to produce a very good income for you or your family members. Charitable remainder trusts are especially helpful for individuals who retire and would like to sell land or stock tax free and receive a generous income.

Charitable Gift Annuity

Many of our friends, especially those age 70 and above, are very interested in fixed payments from a charitable gift annuity. If you fund a gift annuity, you receive a substantial income tax charitable deduction and fixed payments for life. A gift annuity may pay for one life or for two lives. For a husband and wife, the payments will last until both have passed away.

Donor Advised Funds

Many families find that a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) is a simple and efficient way to help charities that they love. By establishing such a fund, you can time the gifts you make (for investment or tax reasons) and you can select the charities you wish to benefit from your gifts. You receive the income or estate tax deduction, and the opportunity is there to make distribution decisions later. Many families may use a Donor Advised Fund as an estate beneficiary so that they can allow their children or friends to continue supervising the gifts from their fund for years to come. Parents appreciate the way that their DAF encourages children to be involved in philanthropy.

Charitable Endowments

Another option that you may prefer is to leave property or money in an endowment form so that the charity does not spend the principal. Instead, the charity pays the endowment income (as the donors often have done throughout their lives). Endowments may be left to community or religious foundations or often directly to the charity with instructions for their use. It is often helpful to suggest a general purpose for the endowment fund because it will last perpetually, and the original purpose for the gift may one day not exist.

Leave a Legacy for Future Generations

estate-planning-legacy.jpg"The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." - William James

The impact of including Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in your will or estate plans is tremendous. You can extend the reach of this ministry to future generations of children and families in need.

Seventy-nine percent of our annual budget comes from individuals and churches. We receive no state or federal funding. Last year our supporters impacted over 4,000 children, families, and individuals through our Christ-centered ministries. Over 160 accepted Christ as Savior and Lord!

About 60% of Americans do not have a current will. The impact of this on children, on surviving spouses, on taxes and legal fees is immeasurable!

If you desire to include Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in your estate plans, the Louisiana Baptist Foundation offers estate planning assistance. As a ministry partner of the Children's Home and an agency of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the Foundation does not charge a fee for this service. You may contact the Foundation at 318-445-4495 or Toll-Free 877-523-4636 or www.LBFinfo.org.

Thank you for your prayerful consideration of including Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in your estate planning process. Your gifts through estate planning are vital to leaving a legacy of love, care, and hope in Christ for future generations!

Join Our Children's Legacy Foundation

Everyone who includes the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in their estate plans can become part of our Children's Legacy Foundation. This is our way of honoring those who have remembered the Children's Home with a future gift. Please contact Marc Eichelberger, Vice President of Development and Public Relations, at 318-343-2244 or marc@lbch.org if you have included the Children's Home in your estate plans so we can formally recognize you.

Louisiana Baptist Foundation is available to help you with estate planning. If you desire to include the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in your estate plans, the Louisiana Baptist Foundation offers estate planning assistance. As a ministry partner of the Children's Home and an agency of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the Foundation does not charge a fee for this service (legal and/or CPA fees may be incurred in some circumstances). You may contact the Foundation at 318-445-4495 or Toll-Free 877-523-4636 or www.LBFinfo.org.

Official Bequest Information

Following is the official information you will want to include on documents prepared by your attorney or financial advisor to designate bequests to the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home:

Corporate Name:
Louisiana Baptist Children's Home

Address:
(Mailing) P. O. Box 4196, Monroe, LA 71211
(Physical) 7200 DeSiard Street, Monroe, LA 71203

Federal Employer ID Number: 72-6000696

Bequeath Language: "I bequeath the sum of $__________ to Louisiana Baptist Children's Home, a non-profit corporation located in Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana."

Contact Name: Marc Eichelberger, Vice President of Development & Public Relations, marc@LBCH.org or 318-343-2244

Louisiana Baptist Foundation is available to help you with estate planning. If you desire to include the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home in your estate plans, the Louisiana Baptist Foundation offers estate planning assistance. As a ministry partner of the Children's Home and an agency of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, the Foundation does not charge a fee for this service (legal and/or CPA fees may be incurred in some circumstances). You may contact the Foundation at 318-445-4495 or Toll-Free 877-523-4636 or www.LBFinfo.org.

FREE Personal Will Planner

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We will be happy to mail you a FREE Personal Will Planner - over 70 pages designed to help you collect and compile the information necessary to complete a Last Will and Testament and to provide vital information to the executor of that Will. Please note that any information contained in the Personal Will Planner is not to be considered legal advice. You are encouraged to seek legal counsel when preparing and drafting legal documents.

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Your gift provides love, care, and hope in Christ for children and families in need. 79% of all funding comes from individuals and churches. We receive no state or federal funding. All gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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PO Box 4196
Monroe, Louisiana 71211

7200 DeSiard Street
Monroe, Louisiana 71203

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