People should start thinking about planned giving when they have a charitable interest in an organization. Obviously there are also some tax benefits, but people generally want to help an institution they care about. Periodically we also need to tend to our financial affairs and update our estate plans. Tax laws and family situations often change. This requires that every few years or more frequently, we should examine our plans. By considering where we stand financially and where we want to make changes, we can better plan for retirement and look ahead to the inheritance we leave to family members and to our favorite charities.
The biggest mistake people make about estate planning is that they don’t think about it until it is too late. In appropriate situations they should discuss the plans with family members. In setting up a planned gift, it is essential to seek out qualified financial and legal assistance by using a professional tax specialist, estate planning attorney or a financial planner.
Estate planning is essential. When assets remain in an estate after a person dies, the assets can be taxed heavily depending on the value of those assets. The tax can reduce the amount passed on to heirs by a significant percentage. A properly constructed estate plan with bequests to a charity can reduce the taxes on those assets or avoid them entirely.
Those who wish to qualify for U.S. tax deductibility for their donations, must include in their documentation that the gift is made to the American & Foreign Christian Union (AFCU), an IRS category 501(c)(3) organization. This is also necessary to obtain the estate tax benefits (IRC Section 2055) as a charitable contribution. The documentation should be specific if you desire to have your gift benefit one of the three churches (American Church in Paris, American Church in Berlin or the Vienna Community Church). Otherwise the gift will be used by the AFCU to support all three churches. In all cases, seek appropriate guidance before any final decisions are made or documentation is completed.
On behalf of these churches, we want to thank you for your support and your prayers. The American & Foreign Christian Union truly needs and appreciates your gifts. They serve to ensure the continuing missions of our churches. If you have any questions, or if we can be of any assistance with your plans, please contact us.
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