The Mission of Planned Giving & Trust Services

Welcome to the Southwestern Union Conference Gift Planning & Trust Services Web page. Here you will find information about your estate plan, the “The Crowning Act of Stewardship.”

In every conference and institution there is an excellent Planned Giving & Trust Services department. Our mission is twofold. First, we want to assist you in providing a lifetime stream of income for you and your spouse and to provide for your family through your estate plan. Secondly, to present options to church members who want to make current and planned gifts to support the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its various organizations. We believe that God owns everything and that we are His stewards of the possessions entrusted to us.

Whether your estate is simple or complex, there is a plan that can be developed to meet your specific needs. The trust officers in each conference can assist you with information that will help you make decisions on how to design your estate plan. We encourage you to make these decisions a matter of prayer for guidance on how the Lord wants you to manage the assets entrusted to your care.

Southwestern Union Endowments Available

Many people prefer to include one or more endowment funds as beneficiaries under their estate plan. Endowment funds might already be in place at your local church, school, and conference. Listed are three Endowment Funds in the Southwestern Union Conference.

-Educational Endowment Fund. The Southwestern Union Education Endowment began in 1990. The Endowment has provided scholarship assistance to hundreds of children and youth from across the Southwest with almost half of all funding going to students at Southwestern Adventist University.

Funding for the Endowment comes through annual union-wide offerings, individual gifts and bequests, and special appropriations from the Southwestern Union. Endowment scholarships are administered by the Southwestern Union Office of Education and are awarded to students as nominated by local conference school superintendents, academy principals, and Southwestern Adventist University administrators.

-Evangelism Endowment Fund. The evangelism endowment fund for the Southwestern Union was started several years ago. The income from this fund is used for evangelistic outreach programs, church growth projects, and other soul-winning endeavors that have merit in proclaiming the gospel. Distribution is made through the president’s office of the Southwestern Union Conference in response to proposals submitted from the local conference. This endowment gives your church an opportunity to fund evangelistic projects in places that are ripe for harvest.

-Women’s Ministries Endowment. The women’s ministries endowment was started in 1998. Its purpose is to support women in pursuit of an education at Southwestern Adventist University. Distribution is made through the officers of the Southwestern Union Conference.

Gift Plans Available

-Property Life Estates. A life estate is when a person gifts real estate to charity but maintains ownership for the duration of their life. At the end of life the property will transfer to beneficiaries.

-Payable on death (POD). A POD is an arrangement between a bank or credit union and a client that designates beneficiaries to receive all the client’s assets. The immediate transfer of assets is triggered by the death of the client. POD accounts are created by filling out the proper forms at your bank or credit union. It is a cost-free service that allows for the transfer of all checking and savings accounts, security deposits, savings bonds and other deposit certificates to charity or other beneficiaries. It avoids the probate process. The older name of POD is referred to as a Totten Trust.

-Transfer on death (TOD). Like the POD a TOD is an arrangement that transfers stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other assets to charity or other beneficiaries. It avoids the probate process but there may be a small fee. A TOD is permitted in most state but not all.

-Wills. A statement of what somebody wants to happen to his or her property after he or she dies, or a legal document containing this statement.

-Trusts. A trust is a legal arrangement by which a trustee holds and manages money or property belonging to the trustor.

-Charitable Remainder Trusts. A legal arrangement by which property or money is donated to a charity, making it tax-deductible, but the donor can still benefit from the property or income while alive.

-Charitable Gift Annuities. A qualified gift in which the donor makes a gift of cash or property in exchange for a commitment by the organization to pay income to the annuitant and a second beneficiary, if any. The annuitant (the person providing funds to the charity) receives a contract or agreement from the charity which states that the charity will pay the annuitant a fixed income for life (lives) with payments to start immediately or at some set future time. The income paid under the annuity is secured by the assets of the charity.

-Deferred Gift Annuities. A deferred charitable gift annuity is funded with cash or stock that is exchanged for the organization’s promise to pay the annuitant(s) income at a future date. At the death of the last annuitant, the remainder goes to the organization.

-Charitable Lead Trusts (CLT). A CLT is almost the opposite of a charitable remainder trust. During the term or life of the charitable lead trust, an annuity or unitrust income interest is distributed each year to the designated charitable beneficiary and the assets are eventually transferred to the trustors or grantors designated non-charitable beneficiary(ies).

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