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​1​6.1.1 Procedure for Estate Gifts After Death

​When a parish or school is notified of a bequest from a trust, will, annuity, or insurance policy, the first step should be to contact the Office of the Legal Counsel at the archdiocese and advise the department of the gift. Generally the trusts and estates lawyer in the Office of the Legal Counsel will be able to advise and assist the location through the process. Some gifts may transfer through the court process known as probate and the parish or school will receive notice through court documents. Other gifts coming from a trust, annuity, or life insurance policy may be delivered to the school or parish by the trustee administering the trust, the company handling the annuity or insurance, or the family of the donor.

Most estates and trusts pass smoothly through the probate or administration process, but the process is subject to a large body of legal rules and requirements that make it important for the archdiocese to monitor the process and provide any needed legal advice. Counsel can identify the occasional irregularity (for example, excessive fees charged or improper accounting of the estate assets) that if unrecognized would deplete or eliminate the gift. While the issues, documents, or amounts involved may not always seem significant, these transfers can create liability and problems that are significant and that may not be anticipated at the time. The archdiocesan trusts and estates lawyer acts as a liaison between the parish and the attorneys representing the estate to coordinate the legal transfer. Counsel will also retain a record of the transfer, including a copy of the trust or will, in case of any future dispute concerning whether the gift was used in compliance with the donor's intent.

A donor's gift may be specifically directed to the archdiocese or given to the archdiocese for the benefit of a school or parish. When given for the benefit of a school or parish, the gift is administered by the archdiocese, with the proceeds either being transferred to the location or to the location's Investment Portfolio ​ account. All amounts in excess of three months' operating expenses shall be transferred to the location's Investmen​t Portfolio​ account (see Banking Relationship​).

As a tax-exempt organization, the archdiocese and its locations are not required to pay taxes on donations received, and donations are generally tax deductible to donors, subject to income tax laws and regulations. See "Tax-Exempt Status of the Archdiocese and All Locations" in Taxes and Other Government-Required Reporting. Donors may request confirmation of a parish's or school's tax-exempt status. The donor may be provided with: