Leaving a bequest to the Fellowship
The information on this page is not legal advice, nor is it a recommendation for particular legal services. We simply want to alert you to the opportunity to create a lasting legacy for our Fellowship and to take advantage of tax benefits.
To do this, you’ll need a last will and testament, which is a good thing for anyone to have. A will is the only way to be sure your wishes will be followed after you die. If you don’t have one, the state of Georgia, or the state where you live, will distribute your estate according to state law. That can be a long process, and inheritance taxes and attorneys’ fees could take a substantial portion of your estate.
To create a will, you can consult an attorney. You also can make your own will or use a reputable online legal service. Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer, and Nolo are popular sites. (We are not recommending a particular online service. There are many of them, and even if you using an online service, consider consulting an attorney—especially if your estate is complicated or you don’t completely understand the process.)
If you already have a will, you can add a provision, called a “codicil,” to include a gift to our Fellowship. Georgia law, for example, allows several kinds of codicils for gifts, or “bequests.” These include:
Specific Gift Bequests
A “specific gift” provides the church with a specific sum of money or an item of property, such as stocks or collections. Here’s some sample language:
“I give, devise and bequeath to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus, a non-profit corporation duly existing under the laws of the State of Georgia and located at 8827 Heiferhorn Way in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia, in the United States [$___________] or [___percent of my estate] or [an asset], to be used for its unrestricted use and purpose (or for the support of a specific program).”
Residual bequests provide all or part of the estate to the church after payment of debts, expenses and bequests to others. Example language:
I give, devise and bequeath to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbus, a non-profit corporation duly existing under the laws of the State of Georgia and located at 8827 Heiferhorn Way in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia, in the United States[all or ___percent] of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, to be used for its unrestricted use and purpose (or for the support of a specific program).
A contingent bequest is a gift that names The Georgia Trust a beneficiary in the event that one of your specific bequests cannot be fulfilled. For example, if the prime beneficiary of your estate precedes you in death. Example language:
If [insert name of primary beneficiary] is not living at the time of my demise I give, devise and bequeath to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States, the sum of $____ [or all or a specific percentage of the residue of my estate] to be used for its general support (or for the support of a specific program).
Bequests in your will are a practical way to provide substantial support to our Fellowship. Such gifts are not subject to federal or state estate or inheritance taxes, and there is no limit on the allowable deduction. But remember, consult an attorney if you don’t understand the process and discuss your will with your family.