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planned giving & trust se r vices Martha’s Easy Decision “. . . for God loveth a cheerful giver.” I WAS PREPARING AN ENDOWMENT AGREEMENT, when I was summoned to the reception area. There an elderly lady rose to her feet and offered a friendly smile, saying, “I expect you are the person I need to speak with.” I invited her to my office, where she opened an old briefcase with a single strap in place to secure its precious cargo: stock certificates. “My husband passed away recently,” she began, “and I’ve been sorting through paperwork I knew nothing about prior to his death. I’m 91 years old now. As you can imagine, this is a daunting task.” She smiled again, adding, “We never discussed financial matters at any time during our 71 years of marriage. He managed everything. I guess that’s not the best way of doing things, is it?” She removed the stack of certificates and handed them to me; they were all dated 1982. “Where did you find them?” I asked. “Well,” she smiled, “I’ve heard that we should flip our mattress occasionally to lengthen its life, but we never did. The bed is at least 30 years old, so I asked my neighbour to remove it. That’s when I found them, just lying there between the box spring and mattress, scattered like the leaves of autumn. I’ve been sleeping on them for who knows how long! I understand if I donate them directly to the conference rather than sell them through a broker, they may result in a larger donation, and that I’ll receive a charitable tax receipt to help offset any taxes that may be payable. Does the conference accept gifts such as this?” I assured her that it does indeed accept publicly traded shares and that, as a donor, she would be entitled to a donation tax credit for the fair market value of her gift. 1 She then mentioned that there was also a sizable life insurance policy. The cheque had been issued directly to her, the sole beneficiary. 2 At its completion, $23,000 was realized from the sale of the securities. She asked that these funds be directed to the conference’s Elementary Education department, specifically for technology, because of their love of and appreciation for the youth of the church, as they are the church of tomorrow. Additionally, she decided to make a matching gift of $23,000 from the life insurance proceeds to the Conference School of Evangelism because she and her husband became Adventists as a result of a visit by a literature evangelist. “It couldn’t get much easier than that,” Martha stated. “God has been so good to us, and I know my husband would be proud of my decision.” As you consider how the Lord can use some of your disposable assets to His glory, consider Martha’s chosen text: “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). n Frances E. Chant is a retired planned giving director. 1 In 2006, the Federal Budget changed the tax relief when gifts of investments are made to charity. Depending on your province of residence, the actual tax savings will vary, but receiving tax relief approximately equal to 40 to 45 percent of the value of the gift is common after factoring in both the federal and provincial tax savings. 2 Always seek professional legal and financial advice before making a decision. M J a n u ar y 2 015 11