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16.2 Development of Planned Gifts

Planned gifts can be a significant benefit to a parish, school, or ministry in the archdiocese. Some planned gifts can provide an important tax benefit to parishioners as part of their estate planning (see Unrestricted or Undesignated Donations to a Parish​ and Restricted or Designated Donations and Funds​). The archdiocese Planned Giving Office can assist in the development of charitable planned gifts. It is important to encourage the faithful to think of the archdiocese in any estate planning they may do. One of the simplest steps is including a reminder in the parish weekly bulletin asking whether the parishioners have remembered their parish or school in their planning. Another is acknowledging with gratitude any gift received. The Planned Giving Office also regularly conducts Estate Planning Seminars at parishes, schools, and other entities.​

Sometimes a parishioner will ask the parish or the archdiocese to pay for the lawyer to create a parishioner's will or trust because it includes a charitable gift. Generally the request should be respectfully declined because it creates a conflict of interest. The parish should refer the parishioner to the archdiocese Planned Giving Office for further assistance.

Charitable gifts to a parish, school, or ministry should be designated as follows: "to The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, a corporation sole, fbo [insert name of parish, school, or ministry]."

Clergy are sometimes asked to act as executors or successor trustees of parishioner's wills or trusts. These requests should be declined or referred to the archdiocesan Office of the Legal Counsel because the responsibilities often create conflicts of interest between the parish and the family. Clergy may serve as an executor for a family member but should consult the Office of the Vicar for Clergy before accepting any such designation.

Clergy should also be alert to possible claims of financial elder abuse raised by family or friends of a senior who has made a significant charitable gift to a parish or school. If any financial elder abuse is suspected, clergy should immediately contact the archdiocese Office of the Legal Counsel. Clergy are designated as mandatory reporters who must immediately notify local law enforcement of suspected elder abuse.

​Parishioners and clergy seeking assistance with basic estate planning documents may consider an advance health care directive. This Advance Healt​h Care Directive ​do​cument​, which follows Catholic teaching on euthanasia, allows a person to select an agent for health care decisions and disposition of remains. California law also provides a uniform statutory form power of attorney, which parishioners and clergy may consider in order to direct an agent for financial decision-making.


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