Planned Giving

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Have a question? Thinking through your options?

For some helpful hints, click on one of these topics:

1. Checklist for End of Life Planning
2. Give it Twice Trust (Charitable Remainder Trust)
3. Giving to Children
4. Help with Real Estate (Episcopal Realtors' Association)
5. How Do You Wish Your Gift to be Used?
6. Saving for Retirement (Deferred Gift Annuity)
7. How Marvin Tripled his Income (Gift Annuity)
8. Long Term Care
9. Make a Gift of Your Tax Bomb (IRA, 401k, 403b)
10. Making Your Will a Statement of Your Values
11. Paying it Forward (Inheritance)
12. Poor Person's Foundation (Donor Advised Fund)
13. Providing for Your Pets (St. Francis' Guild)
14. Something that Won't Go Away (Endowment Gift)
15. The Difference Made by One Gift
16. The Easiest Way to Remember Your Church
17. Unmarried Partners (Estate Planning)
18. What Our Prayerbook Says About Wills
19. When a Will Won't (Estate Planning Tips)
20. Where Will Your Next Rector Live? (Donate House)
21. Your Will and Missing Words


My cousin Judy had Down's syndrome. Judy never learned to speak or care for herself and spent the last years of her life in an institution. We seldom speak of family members who, like Judy, are permanently disabled. Many of us with disabled family members may not be aware of how important it is to take particular account of them in our estate planning.

A disabled adult whose lifeline is Social Security or another government program will likely be disqualified from receiving future benefits if their parents were to die without a will -- or without a properly designed trust. This would be a very costly inheritance. Only an enormous inheritance could compensate for disqualification, yet even a modest inheritance may trigger this disastrous result. A parent's lack of proper planning could easily have unintended catastrophic results for their loved one.

A special needs person like my cousin Judy requires a "Special Needs Trust" to protect her benefits. The appointed trustee of such a Special Needs Trust administers its finances for the named beneficiary in a way that protects other benefits that she may be receiving. Such a Special Needs Trust may be funded with a bequest from her parent's will or trust, or with a life insurance policy.

Any unspent principal in a Special Needs Trust will, at the death of the disabled beneficiary, be paid to a remainder beneficiary. This may be another family member, a charity, or a combination. A woman in Marin has named her church as ultimate beneficiary of her daughters' Special Needs Trusts.

Recently I helped a couple who have an adult disabled son plan a Charitable Remainder Trust that will pay into their son's Special Needs Trust. This will have the advantage of significantly lowering taxes on their estate while protecting their son and ultimatelybenefiting their parish as well.

For ways to both protect family members and benefit your church contact your gift planning officer. He can refer you to appropriate professional advisors as well as inform you of various options.

A Special Needs Trust is an important way to care for someone who God has given to us.

Amanda Kiernan, J.D. 415.869.7812
Planned Giving Officer [email protected]
Episcopal Diocese of California