Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. - 2021-01-05T134344.574

What Is a Bequest?

A bequest is simply a gift you make as part of your will or a trust. The gift can be to a person, to a beloved ministry or any other charity you’d like to support. Bequests are generally the easiest way to pass along money, property or other assets, after you’re called home to Heaven.


Making a bequest to a Lutheran ministry

If you feel called to leave a gift to your congregation, LCMS school, or another ministry, a bequest is often the simplest way to make that gift.

To make a bequest to an LCMS ministry, you’ll need to provide instructions in your will or trust on your exact wishes. You’ll also want to ensure that other documents, like the beneficiary designations on assets like your life insurance or retirement accounts, don’t contradict those wishes. If they do, they’ll often override the plans you outlined in your will.

Structuring a bequest

When planning to make a bequest to a Lutheran ministry, keep in mind that there are several ways to structure a bequest. You can gift specific assets, heirlooms or personal property to a specific individual or ministry, or dictate that your gifts be distributed out of a specific fund, such as a bank or savings account. Conversely, you may also dictate that gifts be paid out of your overall estate, or that your bequest be fulfilled only after all expenses, creditors claims and other debts have been paid for your estate.

Should bequests be a part of your estate plan?

Although the LCMS Foundation can’t draft a will for you, we can show you how to use bequests to leave generous gifts to your local congregation or other Lutheran ministries you support. We’ll help you evaluate the structure of your overall estate plan in a way that maximizes your gifts to family and to ministry, while also potentially helping you minimize taxes on your estate. In addition, if the simple process of making a bequest isn’t the best option for you, we have the expertise to help you use other estate planning tools to ensure your plans come to fruition.

To learn more about using bequests within your gift plan, contact the LCMS Foundation and request to speak with one of our gift planning counselors.

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For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 1 Chronicles 29:14

Start Your Gift Plan Today!

If your congregation or ministry has a gift planning program in place, you already have access to a dedicated gift planning counselor. Click the "Learn More" button below to learn how to get started, including setting up a no-obligation discovery session. 

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My Ministry Should Start a Program

Starting a gift plan program for your ministry can be simple. We have partnerships with dozens of LCMS congregations, schools, ministries and even our seminaries. If you think your ministry should have a program in place, we’re happy to talk with your pastor or ministry leaders.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Gift planning can seem overwhelming and it's often hard to know where to start. If you’re still not sure if gift planning is for you or right for your family, or are unclear as to what makes a gift plan different from a will, please visit our FAQ for more details. 

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How can we help you today? If you're a current donor, or if you're new to the LCMS Foundation and would like more information, we'd love to hear from you. Please use the "I have a question or comment about" drop-down field below to get your comment to the correct person or department faster.