When I first came to the WMU Foundation, I immediately went to a refresher course on how to explain planned giving, which is also known as estate planning or legacy giving. I quickly realized that there are more ways to make a planned gift than to make a current gift, and there are innumerable tax and financial consequences or benefits depending on the tax laws that are in effect at the time.
It was overwhelming, but I had a job to do, so I began to research and educate myself on all that I needed to know. I learned more How To’s than I can even remember, and, while those are all important, they are secondary to why you should make a planned gift in the first place.
It scares me to think how many people I confused over the years with too much information about how when they really needed to know why. Now, at this stage of my ministry career, I plan to focus first on why we do what we do. Then we can discuss how—and I am blessed to know experts who can provide excellent advice from a Christian perspective to anyone with those questions.
Why do we make planned gifts?
I believe we are commanded by God to give, and that includes planned future gifts as well as current gifts.
Rather than quote a specific verse, let me just point you to the Bible in its entirety. It is about giving from Genesis to Revelation. God planned His gift to us before He actually gave His gift to us. We only have a last will and testament, which is how we plan to honor God with our estate at the end of our life.
We make planned gifts because it is a way we can honor God.
You get to decide what happens with “your” money after you leave earth. You can care for your family—and you should! You can give to your alma mater or other causes that you supported during your life, and you can also support your missions passion that God has placed on your heart.
Make planned gifts to teach your family.
You may think that your children and other family members know exactly what is important to you because they watched you all of your life, and that is likely true, but nothing will speak stronger to your family than where you put your treasure at the end of your life. Remember the scripture: “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 (KJV)
The real reasons for planned giving are simple: We have been commanded by God to give, and it will speak to our children and family. As you consider planned giving in your own life, I hope you’ll reflect on the why and contact the WMU Foundation or visit wmufoundation.com/planned-giving when you’re ready to work on the how.
Written by David George, WMU Foundation president.