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planned giving & trust se r vices Big Insight, Big Impact: Brad’s Story I t was that time again—the dreaded annual physical. Sitting in the waiting room, Brad reflected on the first 50 years of his life, especially his adult years, when he hadn’t been careful about his health. His prosperous lifestyle as the CEO of a major international company demanded worldwide travel, and during those years his philosophy was to eat, drink, and be merry. He believed he would likely follow in the footsteps of his father and older brothers, who had all developed coronary artery disease and diabetes and died in their mid-60s. Brad had been a heavy meat eater and loved sweets, eggs, and cheese. He recalled how hard it had been to change his way of life. When he joined the Adventist Church and learned about its health message, he decided to make big changes. He committed to God and to himself that he would make better lifestyle choices. Within a month, his clothes fit better, he felt better, and he had more energy than he’d had in years—and these trends continued for many more years to come. As he waited to be called in to see the doctor, he looked around for something to distract him. He picked up a magazine. 1 2 Paging through it, he noticed an article about donating life insurance to a charity. Hmmm, he thought to himself. This was an idea he hadn’t considered before. Now, at age 71, he was grieving the recent death of his wife, Angela. Prior to her death they had done a quick review of their estate and talked about changing their wills to direct more of their estate to their church. They did not have children or surviving siblings, so it seemed like a sensible choice. Brad met with his insurance agent, financial advisor, and the Conference Planned Giving director to discuss the transfer of ownership and beneficiary designation of an existing $300,000 policy to his church. 1 By doing this, he would be sure that the insurance proceeds would go directly to his church when he passed away, and each year that Brad paid the premium, he would receive a tax receipt. Access to the church and other buildings was a constant challenge for Angela during the last 23 years of her life, when rheumatoid arthritis had put her in a wheelchair. With this in mind, Brad felt that improving access to the church was of great importance, so he included a personal written request with the insurance policy that the money be used for accessi- bility renovations. Brad’s church was over 50 years old and in desperate need of repairs and modifications. The sanctuary needed new flooring and pews, as well as pews that would accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. The washrooms needed more stalls, including handicap stalls, and an area for parents with small children. Impressed to give more, Brad decided to make an immediate, one-time cash gift of $500,000, which gave him a sense of gratification and a charitable tax receipt he could include on his next tax return. 2 Brad did not want recognition for his donation before or after his death. Years before, prior to joining the church, he might have enjoyed the acknowledgment, but now he had a clear sense of God’s purpose in his life and wanted all of the glory to go to God. The improved life the church had given him, physically and spiritually, was thanks enough. n Frances Chant is a retired planned giving director. Always contact a professional advisor before deciding a course of action. The donor must make an unconditional transfer of ownership. The Canada Revenue Agency does not require charities to issue tax credits for gifts, but most charities do. Donors cannot claim a charitable tax credit or deduction unless they are issued an official donation receipt. M S e pte mb e r /O c to ber 201 6 13