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ELCA Foundation

Plan a Gift. Leave a Legacy.

Gift Planning Services for Members

Gift Planning Services for Congregations

What’s an Estate Plan? FAQs

Our Regional Gift Planner – Rev. Ana Lugo

Gift Plan in Action: Meet the Thuemmels

Questions and Answers on Gift Planning

For Individuals: 

What is a gift planner?

A gift planner is a person who assists donors in making plans to leave gifts of love to family, ministries, charities, and other institutions. These gifts are often “given” (realized) after our deaths.

What is a gift plan?

A gift plan is a picture or illustration showing where all the things that constitute our estate will go after our death. A gift plan may include writing and updating documents, such as a Will, Trust, and beneficiary designations.

Why should I meet with a gift planner?

Can’t my lawyer or financial advisor help me with my gifts to ministry or charity? Yes, your lawyer and/or financial advisor can help you plan for your charitable gifts, however, when you meet with a gift planner, the gift planner begins with your faith story. A gift planner helps your faith story to continue long after your lifetime.

Will meeting with a gift planner cost you money?

No, the services of the gift planner are free of cost to you.

What is an estate?

In simple terms, an estate is all the money and property owned by an individual. Homes, bank accounts, insurance policies, land, collections, stocks, annuities, retirement accounts, investments, etc., all these assets constitute a person’s estate.

What is an estate plan?

An estate plan is a collection of legal documents with instructions stating whom you want to receive something from your estate, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. These documents also include instructions appointing a person to handle your financial affairs when you are not able, who will make medical decisions for you when you cannot make such decisions for yourself and what kind of life sustaining treatment or palliative care you prefer if you are in a terminal or irreversible condition.

Click here for an Estate Plan explanation and FAQs.

For Congregations: 

What are endowment funds?

Endowment funds are a pool of money from which the income can be distributed to areas of ministry selected by the congregation.

Will endowment funds adversely affect giving to annual budget?

Not really. The gifts that go to endowment funds primarily come from legacy gifts left by members thru their wills and other documents. These gifts are given after our deaths. Sometimes donors will make gifts to endowment funds during their lifetimes.

Why should our congregation have an endowment fund?

An endowment fund is intended to provide an opportunity and vehicle to fund mission and ministry beyond our time. It tells members our congregation has a plan for now and the future. It receives legacy gifts, often larger than gifts received thru the annual budget. It may avoid future disagreements within a congregation as to how to use undesignated gifts. It will provide a steady income stream to the congregation to fund current and future mission and ministry.