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planned giving & trust se r vices T he day had come for Charlie and Marie to leave the farm. This was the place where they had spent over 50 years of marriage and raised their six children. The kids had all grown up and moved away, and subsequently, caring for the farm had become too difficult for the aging couple to manage. They sold the land; it was time to go. Deciding how to let go of the farm machinery would have been difficult had they not carefully prepared a plan for that very purpose. Just a few years earlier, Marie suggested to her husband that they attend the specialized estate planning seminars being held in their local area. It was here that they were surprised to learn that a will is the basis of any solid financial plan. Charlie was embarrassed to admit that they did not have a will. 1 They also found out how important it was to work with professional advisors, including a lawyer, financial planner, and tax accountant. 2 The self-assessment questionnaire the couple completed proved to be a very helpful planning tool when meeting with their advisors. Encouraged to include their children in the decision- making process, Charlie and Marie held several family meetings. Together, this family made important decisions under the guidance of their team of advisors. Because most of the family members volunteered in the community and were strong believers in helping those less fortunate, Charlie and Marie’s children suggested making a donation to the Adventist Community Services (ACS) centre at their church and to several other local outreach ministries. Charlie and Marie happily agreed, and it was decided to donate some of the farm machinery. So, Charlie contacted the conference vice-president of finance, who confirmed that gifts of machinery were definitely acceptable for the purpose of charitable giving. After selecting and identifying several pieces of machinery, the conference office contacted a third-party professional appraiser (not associated with the donors or the conference) to establish fair market value. 3 A gift agreement was then prepared and signed by all parties. Charlie and Marie received a charitable tax receipt from the conference representing the fair market value. 4 The machinery was then sold by an auctioneer, and in the end, Charlie and Marie were delighted to find out that they were able to donate $149,000 to the ministries they had chosen. Through the whole experience of settling the farm, Charlie, Marie, and their children gained a great sense of peace, joy, and satisfaction. The farm would be only a memory now, but giving it up meant that they could help so many people in ways they could never have imagined without the help of their professional advisors. With one chapter so neatly closed, Charlie and Marie looked ahead, not with sorrow, but with excitement about what the next chapter of their lives would bring. Giving is indeed a blessing. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” ( James 2:17, NIV). n Cultivating Generosity The farm would be only a memory now, but giving it up meant that they could help so many people in ways they could never have imagined . . . Frances Chant is a retired planned giving director. 1 A recent poll reveals that 56 percent of adult Canadians do not have a will. Always seek professional legal and financial advice before making major decisions. 3 The Canada Revenue Agency Charities Directorate does not require an appraisal by a third party but strong recommends it if the donated item is expected to be valued at over $1,000. 4 The charity is required to ensure that the fair market value is documented. Without a fair market value, a charity cannot issue a charitable tax receipt. 2 M J u ne 2 015 11