Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS) is building its permanent school endowment. We need your gifts of love to leave a permanent legacy and to guarantee that students who seek theological education might have the opportunity to attend school. College and seminary costs are rising and CTS is committed to keeping educational expenses affordable. Continue to pray for our endowment – “LEAVE A LEGACY TO COVENANT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.”
The most meaningful gifts to Covenant Theological Seminary can be made through a donor’s will, trust or other type of testamentary gift. CTS is willing and ready to work with you to develop a “Gift Plan.”
(Also referred to as “bequests”) are gifts that take effect at someone’s death. You can simply name “Covenant Theological Seminary in Greenville, North Carolina” as the beneficiary of a charitable gift contained in a will, revocable “living” trust, or on a beneficiary designation form for life insurance or a retirement account. A Confirmation of Deferred Gift form can be provided by CTS’s Planned Giving Office. This form helps Covenant Theological Seminary monitor future gifts and helps donors give CTS guidance as to their wishes for their charitable gift.
To some degree, testamentary charitable gifts may also be driven by federal estate tax rates that can apply to individual estates of over $2,000,000. The highest federal estate tax rate applicable to some donors is 45% in 2007. This is, essentially, a dollar for dollar match from the I.R.S. that is granted for testamentary charitable gifts from donors with larger estates. Moreover, while there is a limit on how much donors can deduct on their income taxes for lifetime gifts (usually 20%, 30% or 50% of the donor’s adjusted gross income), but there is no limit for testamentary charitable gifts — these are generally 100% deductible. Thus, much of any charity’s gift planning efforts should be directed toward donors who plan to make their largest or ultimate or “legacy” gift at their death.
A bequest may provide for a specific dollar gift, a percentage of your estate, or specific asset(s) to be given to CTS in support of its various programs and endeavors. A bequest may also be in the form of a gift of the remaining assets of one’s estate. Bequests, like other gifts, can be designated for many purposes or given without restriction.
An unrestricted bequest is one intended for the general and best use by the School at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Such a bequest might read:
“I give, devise, and bequeath to Covenant Theological Seminary, Greenville, North Carolina, (the sum of $________) (____ percent of my estate) (the following property) (the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate). The property comprising this gift may be used to further the charitable purposes of Covenant Theological Seminary at the discretion of its directors.
Donors may restrict the use of their bequests. A restricted bequest might provide as follows:
“I give, devise, and bequeath to Covenant Theological Seminary, Greenville, North Carolina, (the sum of $______) (______ percent of my estate) (the following property) (the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate). The property comprising this gift shall be used for (state purpose). If, in the opinion of the directors of Covenant Theological Seminary, or their successors, the need for funds for the charitable purpose described above no longer exists at some future date, the directors, or their successors, are authorized to use these funds in the best interest of the School.
Both unrestricted and restricted bequests may be designated to establish endowment funds. Please contact the Office of Planned Giving if you would like to create a named endowment with a deferred gift.
Charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income fund gifts and charitable gift annuities all may be established through a donor’s will. While such a gift will not provide tax savings during the donor’s lifetime, a testamentary gift may reduce estate taxes, provide life-income for a loved one, and provide new estate planning options.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), tax-sheltered annuities, Keogh plans, self employed plans (SEPs), 401(k), 403(b) and other qualified pension and profit-sharing plans can also can provide significant support for Covenant Theological Seminary. A donor needs to inform their retirement plan administrator that they wish to name CTS as a beneficiary of the plan. The funds will usually pass to Covenant Theological Seminary outside of probate and free of all taxes.
A donor may name CTS as a beneficiary of an existing life insurance policy. The proceeds will usually pass to CTS outside of probate and free of all taxes.
Life Income Gifts serve a dual purpose. They provide philanthropic support for CTS while also providing both a charitable income tax deduction and an income stream to the donor. Because they provide income benefits comparable to or in some cases exceeding those that might be earned in ordinary investments, life income gifts can help donors to make more significant gifts than they might otherwise be able to make. In this sense, they are a “tax-wise” investment in the future of Covenant Theological Seminary.
There are several types of life income gifts which CTS and its Office of Planned giving will work out with the giver:
A donor may give contributions to this special fund. Scholarships are provided to current enrolled students based on need.
Securities, both publicly traded and closely held, and bonds can be used to make a gift to Covenant Theological Seminary. A donor is entitled to a charitable tax deduction equal to the value of the securities on the date of the gift. CTS is able to sell the securities and employ the proceeds, without reduction by capital gains taxes because of CTS’s status as a non-profit organization. Gifts of closely held stock require additional planning, and may require approval by CTS’s Gift Policy Committee.
A gift of real estate may be a principal residence or vacation residence, a farm, a commercial building, subdivision lots, or unimproved land. The gift may be the entire property or a fractional interest in the property. The same benefits which accrue to gifts of appreciated securities apply to gifts of appreciated real estate. All gifts of real estate require approval by CTS’s Gift Policy Committee.
The donor should remember that all tangible personal property, such as paintings and other works of art, will be subject to estate taxes. By giving such items to CTS during your lifetime or at death, you may realize certain benefits and discover a new way to make a gift. Gifts of tangible personal property which are related to the School’s purpose generally produce a deduction equal to the fair market value of the property. Gifts which do not have a related purpose may generate a lower tax deduction but can still be attractive for contribution. Certain gifts of tangible personal property require approval by CTS’s Gift Policy Committee.
Life insurance offers an alternative method for making a charitable gift to Covenant Theological Seminary. For example, a donor may: Give a policy that is fully paid up and take a deduction for the “present value” of the policy, as determined for tax purposes, (which generally is the approximate cash surrender value); or Purchase a new policy of which CTS is designated the owner and beneficiary. Certain gifts of life insurance require approval by CTS’s Gift Policy Committee.
Helpful information is available from the Internal Revenue Service at:
• IRS.gov (under Forms and Publications)
For example, you may access:
• I.R.S. Publication: “Charitable Contributions”
• I.R.S. Publication: “Determining the Value of Donated Property”
• I.R.S. Form 8283: “Non-cash Charitable Contributions”
(1) Covenant Theological Seminary qualifies as a public charitable organization and meets the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Gifts to CTS are deductible at the highest limits allowed for federal income or estate tax purposes.
(2) Income tax deductions: A person may deduct gifts of cash (or elect to deduct only the cost basis of an appreciated asset) up to 50% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in a year. Gifts of appreciated real or personal property may be deducted up to 30% of a person’s (AGI). Excess deductions may be carried over for up to five (5) additional years.
(3) Estate tax deductions: Testamentary gifts are deductible at 100% of the value of the assets donated.
Dr. Max Flynn, President
Covenant Theological Seminary
PO Box 1177
Greenville, NC 27835
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