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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

Glossary of Terms

 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Who are we?
We are Lutheran Foundation Canada, founded in 1983, legally known as Lutheran Church-Canada Financial Ministries. Established as a separate corporation with its own board, we work on behalf of Lutheran Church-Canada in extension and foundation activities.

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What is Our Vision?
We envision the day when the Lord’s people, abundantly blessed, return His gifts in full measure to fund His work on earth.

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What Is Our Mission?
The Mission of Lutheran Foundation Canada is to empower God’s people to respond to His grace through gift planning.

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What do we do?
We facilitate gifts to the church by meeting with potential donors, helping them determine the best method to establish their gift. This includes providing information on the organizations of LCC, assisting with the correct phrasing of the gift clause within their will, connecting them with allied professionals, and encouraging consideration of other estate planning activities beyond the will.  It is hoped that through these gifts the mission and ministry of LCC will continue well into the future.

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Who Are Our Members and Partners, and Who Do We Represent?
Collectively, the ABC, Central, and East Districts, along with Synod make up the membership of the Foundation.  Additionally, we have partnerships with:
Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Concordia Lutheran Seminary
Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary
Concordia University College of Alberta
Lutheran Layman's League - Lutheran Hour Ministries                                                                Lutheran Women's Missionary League - Canada

Not only do we represent, and encourage gifts to the above organizations, but also work on behalf of Lutheran High Schools, the Listed Service Organizations, and every congregation of LCC. The decision on who should receive a gift is entirely up to the donor, and it is our desire to assist in the development of the gift.

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What Can I Do?
As Christians, we are asked to prayerfully consider God’s gifts of time, talent, and treasure. I suggest that people think of these gifts in very different ways. Even though we sometimes say things like “my time is precious” or “you’ve wasted my time”, we know in our hearts that God has blessed us with each and every day that we have on earth. Just look in any newspaper to read about the many individuals whose lives have been prematurely ended by accident or sickness. As well, when we consider how talented we may be in one area, but have no skills in another, we may also acknowledge in our hearts that our “talents” are a gift from God. Most would agree that our “time” and “talent” is only marginally impacted by our own efforts. This is not as transparent to us when we consider our treasures. After all, our estate is the accumulation of a life-time of hard work, education, personal sacrifice, and prudent financial planning. We’ve struggled, scrimped and saved in order to be financially successful. You can see how all this seems like “our doing”, as opposed to “God’s doing”, or our gain, as opposed to God’s gifts. As Christian stewards, we need to acknowledge in our hearts, not only our heads, that our treasures are also a gift from God. With that comes the desire to thank God for all that we’ve been blessed, not ignoring our God-given responsibility to care for family, but in doing so, remembering that we are also part of God’s family. What better way to thank Him then by using a portion of the gifts He has given, for the mission and ministry of His church! What joy to know that your gift may have assisted in bringing someone into heaven! Some individuals have the capacity to give a substantial gift while they are still living, while others, choose to remember the church in their will, by way of a bequest.

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Who Can Help Me?
Lutheran Foundation Canada has “Gift Coordinators” located in each of the three Districts. Gift Coordinators serve their local LCC congregations by helping potential donors find the most strategic way to make a contribution to one of the ministries of Lutheran Church Canada. The Gift Coordinators assist you by suggesting unique tax saving methodologies to meet your gifting aspirations, so you can contribute to your favorite church programs today, tomorrow, or for many years to come.

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How Does It Work?
A Gift Coordinator would be please to meet with you, and your family, to discuss how your goals for gifting could be realized. Whether a current gift or a planned future gift through a bequest, the Gift Coordinator can make recommendations on how to generate the gift you desire, by using charitiable giving tax reduction strategies. If a significant portion of the gift can be realized by redirecting tax payments, there is far less impact to the estate value.

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Where Can I Direct My Gift?
This is entirely up to you, as there are many needs throughout the numerous ministries associated with Lutheran Church Canada. Firstly, consider the ministry area for which you have a passion: is it Local or Overseas Mission work, Higher education, Media Ministry, or a Social/Relief type ministry. Each of these opportunities are represented by various agencies associated with LCC. This is your opportunity to support the ministry area important to you.

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Who Is My Family?
Certainly your immediate family is the prime focus of responsibility within your estate plan. However, throughout our Christian life we declare that we are a part of God's family, so in our death does it not make sense to also claim that God is a part of our family as well, and therefore a rightful heir to a portion of our estate?  Remember that Jesus is a part of every family, and the unseen guest at every table.

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How Often Should I Review My Will?
Wills should be reviewed every three to five years, or when significant events occur that perhaps impact either your estate, or aspects of your will. There are many things that might necessitate a change to your will, including such events as: re-location, marriage, divorce, re-marriage, death, children, or a significant change in your estate value. Additionally, if your executor has moved out of your province, or for some other reason has become incapable of performing the significant requirements required of this position.

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Is there a charge for the services of a Gift Coordinator?
No, the services are provided as a free service by LFC.

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Can I invite my family to sit in on the discussions?
Your family should be included in your estate planning, so they are well aware of your plans, especially if they have a part such as executor.

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What if I have a specific idea of where my donation in the church should be used?
You are the one to decide what ministries to support. We encourage you to discuss these ideas with your family and the ministries you chose, seeking our Lord’s direction through prayer.

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I already have a lawyer. Do I need a new one?
Having a lawyer is the main objective, and if you have one, that is all that is needed. If you do not have a lawyer, we may supply some assistance, please feel free to ask.

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I already have a will. Do I need to speak with my original lawyer to have it modified to include a gift?
Not only should you see your lawyer about the gift, we encourage you to include discussions with your family, and Lutheran Foundation Canada’s Gift Coordinator.

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What is a Living Will?
Living Wills are a written statement made by an individual describing the level of on-going life-support they desire as they near life's end. This may inlcude use of a respirator, defibrilator, feeding tubes, etcetera. Although living wills are not legally enforceable in Canada, they do provide your family with a clear statement of your wishes. Alternatively, each province has created statutes generically referred to as a Health Care Directive which deal with critical health issues at life’s end, and are legally enforceable. Each of us needs to provide clear direction to our family and friends regarding the amount of health care we wish to receive when we are critically ill. Health Care professionals are available to provide help in working through the issues, and lawyers may assist in drawing up the legal documents that set out who will act for you on those critical health decisions when you are no longer able to do so.

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Is giving a gift from my estate complicated?
Establishing a ministry gift can take many forms; some being very easy, and others being somewhat complex.  Either way, a gift coordinator can assist you, and make a recommendation based on your assets, gifting goals, and desired tax advantages.  Probably the easiest type of gift is naming a ministry as a beneficiary within an insurance policy. If you are revising your will, it is also quite simple to add a beneficiary clause naming your chosen ministry.  The gift could be a designated amount, although as donors are not sure of their estate value will be when they die, they often leave a percentage, either from the estate, or from the residual of the estate. Your lawyer will take your instruction, and fits them into your will accordingly.  Often a Gift Coordinator provides suggested wording for the gift clause which is then forwarded to your legal professional.  There are others types of gifts that are also simple to put into place, and a Gift Coordinator will be pleased to meet with you to review them. Please call.

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I don’t own a home, and have very little money, but I want to give to the church. Are there any ways for me to give?
No matter how meager our estate may appear, you should list all of what you own. You may be surprised how it adds up. Everyone, regardless of the size of their estate should have a will, just to ensure that your wishes are followed, and good stewardship is practiced.

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What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document that sets out how you intend your estate to be handled after your death. Your Will comes into effect only upon your death. During your lifetime, you can change your Will as often as you wish.

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What is an Endowment?
An Endowment is an investment fund set aside for the long-term support of our Lord’s Work. The principal is protected, and only the income, or a portion of the income is used. The uses of the income are controlled either by guidelines provided by the donor, or by Lutheran Foundation Canada’s Governing Board.

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Our congregation has just received a sizeable bequest (a gift through a Will) from one of our members. How can Lutheran Foundation Canada help?
Here are some ideas that will help:
A) Place the funds, or a portion of the funds into an Endowment, using the annual earnings to fund a specific mission or the church itself.
B) One of our Gift Coordinators can meet with the congregation to review the opportunities on how these funds may be used, such as giving a special gift to District or Synod Missions.

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When Should I Act?
NOW, TODAY! Call a Gift Coordinator at 877-711-4438. Visit Contact Us for more information.

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Glossary of Terms

Annual Giving - Annual gifts are generally expended during the year in which they are received and fall into one of two categories: unrestricted gifts, to be used as needed, and restricted gifts, designated for a specific purpose.

Beneficiary -An individual or organization that receives an interest in property or funds from an estate, a trust, or a contract such as a life insurance policy or employee benefit plan.

Bequest - A transfer of property such as cash, securities (stocks), and tangible property through a will.

Case Statement - a document stating the most crucial needs of a particular organization that warrant financial support.

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Capital Gain (or Capital Loss) - The difference (gain or loss) between the original purchase cost plus the cost of any improvements in a capital asset and the value of that capital asset when it is sold. 

Challenge Gift - A substantial gift made on condition that other gifts will be obtained, usually within a specified period of time, with the objective of stimulating additional private gifts.

Charitable Lead Trust - A donor creates and funds an irrevocable trust that provides for payments to the Foundation for a specific period of time. At the end of that period, the trust assets go to beneficiaries designated by the original donor.

Charitable Remainder Trust - A donor creates and funds an irrevocable trust that provides income to beneficiaries for life or a term of years, after which time the remainder of the trust is distributed to the Foundation

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Codicil - An amendment to a Will, made in a separate document and with the same formalities as the Will itself.

Deferred Gift - a gift whereby the charitable organization does not benefit until sometime in the future, usually as an estate gift when the person dies..

Designated Gift (Restricted Gift) - A gift earmarked for a specific purpose.

Donor Recognition - The practice of providing recognition to donors for their gifts. Examples include the acknowledgment by card or letter at the time a gift is received, personal or public expressions of appreciation directly to donors, published lists of contributors, and gift clubs.

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Endowment - Money from bequests or outright gifts that is invested in perpetuity to produce amounts to be distributed for pre-determined purposes according to the endowment distribution policy. Funds deposited in an endowment are not expendable; they are invested for the purpose of retaining and increasing the principal of the endowment. Distribution of earnings from the endowment coincides either with the donor's wishes or, if there is no restriction on spending the earnings, at the discretion of the Foundation.

Endowed Scholarship - funds are invested in the Foundation and remain intact in perpetuity. The scholarship is distributed from the interest earned.

Estate - All assets that were wholly owned by a deceased individual.  If the matrimonial home was in joint ownership with a spouse or child, this home would not legally be part of the estate, as the "right of survivorship" automatically places the home in the ownership of the surviving joint owner.  Conversely, if a vehicle was wholly owned by the deceased, this vehicle would become part of the estate.,

Fair Market Value - The current value of an asset if sold on the open market. Federal tax laws directly address the manner of determining and reporting fair market value

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Gift Annuity - a gift by a donor to a charity in exchange for guaranteed stipulated lifetime annual payments. Any money that remains in the annuity at the donor's death is then given to charity.

Gift-In-Kind - Non-monetary items of tangible personal property such as art, collectibles, books, equipment, automobiles, inventory and other physical assets or materials which have value to the Foundation.

Gift Planning - the making of gifts to a charity, resulting from a planning process which considers the effects of the gift upon a donor's estate.

Honorarium - A gift to the Foundation given in honor of a living individual, as designated by the donor.

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Irrevocable Trust - A trust that cannot be changed or terminated by the person creating it.

Life Estate Agreement - A donor transfers title of a home or property to a charity, reserving the right to live in/on the property and receive income from it until their death. At the donor's death, the home/property becomes the property of the Foundation.

Life Income Gift - An irrevocable gift of cash, securities and/or real estate to the Foundation, with the donor receiving income from the donated assets for a period of time through an annuity or trust arrangement for himself or herself and/or other beneficiaries.

Major Gift Campaign (capital campaign) - an organized, intensive fund-raising effort on the part of an institution or organization to secure extraordinary gifts and pledges for a specific purpose or purposes during a specified period of time.

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Memorial - A gift to the Foundation commemorating someone who has died, as designated by the donor.

Outright Gift - A current gift of cash, securities and/or real estate to the Foundation.

Pledge - a signed and dated commitment to make a gift during a specified period according to specified terms.

Pooled Income Fund - a donor transfers money/property to an irrevocable trust operated by a charity, receiving a share of income for life. Whatever remains at the donor's death is available to the charity.

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Power of Attorney - A written legal document that gives an individual the authority to act for another

Principal Gift - The largest gift a donor will make in his/her lifetime.

Probate - the "proving" of a will. When a person dies, the will is taken to the probate court to prove that the will is indeed the person's last will and testament.

Revocable Living Trust - a flexible agreement where a donor transfers income-producing property to a trustee and receives income for a specified period. The remainder in the trust at the donor's death is the asset of the charity.

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Stewardship - a act of reflecting God’s Grace by returning gifts of time, talent and treasures to His church.

Unrestricted Gift - A gift that is given without any restrictions on its use

Will - a legally executed written instrument by which a person distributes his or her property to beneficiaries after his or her death.

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Some definitions in this section were taken from the Glossary of Fund-Raising Terms, published by the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives Institute and other sources.

Lutheran Foundation Canada Address: 3074 Portage Ave Winnipeg, MB R3K 0Y2 1-866-588-4422 A Financial Ministry of LCC Logo

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