Wills and Trusts

“No one shall appear before the Lord empty-handed, but each of you with as much as he can give, in proportion to the blessings which the Lord, God has bestowed on you.” Deuteronomy 16:10, 16-17

When planning your estate, think about the institutions that have played a role in your life. This might be your parish, parish school, diocesan high school, or other ministry.

You helped them during your life with time, guidance, and financial assistance. You endorse their mission and believe that they will continue to make a difference for good in the world far into the future.

Bequests in a will or trust

The most basic estate planning tools are wills and trusts. “Bequests” are established by wills and trusts.

To make a bequest you will most likely engage an estate planning attorney to make sure all legal necessities are followed.

Bequests are not payable until death, so they do not affect your assets or cash flow during your lifetime. You can change the provisions of your will or a revocable trust at any time.

Charitable bequests are private. Your will is not filed or made public until your death. Trusts are never made public unless you instruct otherwise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s the difference between a will and a trust?

A: A will is your instructions to your survivors and to the probate court about how you want your property distributed. It is a revocable, private document that only takes effect after your death.

A revocable trust — sometimes called a living trust — is a legal document that is always private and holds assets during your lifetime. After death, the trust transfers your assets — or benefit from them — to family and charity. Unlike a will, a trust must take title to assets before it can pass them to your survivors.

Q: What if I already have written my will or trust?

A: You can amend a will or trust to make a new gift. Your attorney can prepare a simple document, called a codicil or amendment that adds a new charitable bequest while reaffirming the other terms of your will or trust.

Please consult with your own attorney and other professional advisors regarding your personal tax and financial situation.

Bequest and Beneficiary Designations

Document: Statement of Bequest Intention

©2018 Diocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph

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