Gifts from your Will, Trusts, and more.

Writing an Ethical Will

An “Ethical Will” (sometimes referred to as a "Legacy Love Letter") is a document that traces its origins to Genesis 49:1-33, when a dying Jacob gathered his sons to offer them his blessing. Because an Ethical Will is not a legal document, and is not made for the purpose of distributing assets, the content and form of your letter is up to you. Here are three themes you may wish to cover in your Ethical Will:

  • Beliefs and Values: What do you believe about God? What are your guiding principles when it comes to marriage, raising children, church and ministry, handling money, etc.
  • Life Lessons: What were some of the defining moments of your life, and what did you learn from them? What experiences and people are you most grateful for?
  • Message of Hope: What are some of the most meaningful passages of Scripture to you? What message of hope and encouragement do you wish to leave to your family and friends?

Download a Sample Ethical Will

Important Documents

Make it easy for your loved ones to locate the documents they'll need when the time comes with a Legacy File that includes the following:

  • Duplicate Copy: If you create a duplicate copy of your Legacy File for your executor and for a safe deposit box, you should provide contact and location information.
  • Finances: Provide a list of bank accounts, CDs, mutual funds, and other investments with institution names, account names, and account numbers.
  • Funeral Instructions: Provide details about your wishes for the funeral service, funeral home, burial arrangements.
  • Important Documents: Create a “catch all” file for all other important documents your family may need such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, titles, etc.
  • Insurance: Create a single file with all insurance information – including auto, home, life, health, disability, etc. List the company name, policy numbers, and contact information.
  • Monthly Budget: Include a copy of your monthly budget to help your family keep track of bills and run your household once you are gone.
  • Passwords: If you’re like most people, you have probably have a large and growing list of passwords, usernames, and PIN numbers for your bank accounts, web sites, voicemail, and more. Make a list of these important access codes in a single file.
  • Spiritual Will: A "love letter" from you expressing your love for Christ and your family, and communicating your values, life lessons, and beliefs.
  • Tax Returns: It is recommended that you keep up to 7 years of tax returns on file in the event that you are audited by the IRS. This precaution will spare your family from a lot of unnecessary hassle if you are no longer around.
  • Will: A signed copy of your Will, including information about guardianship, beneficiaries, executor, power of attorney, financial accounts, and charitable interests.

Source: Selected concepts based on the Legacy Drawer at DaveRamsey.com

Tax-Wise Giving

Gifts From Your Will/Trust

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Get Started With a Legacy Gift

Many people are thrilled to discover that including a gift to the Mission in their Will, or other planned giving options, can significantly impact the lives of people in need for eternity. Legacy gifts can include things like:

  • Gifts from your Will or Trust (Get your free guide here!)
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Donor Advised Funds
  • Gifts of Securities
  • And much more

We partner with Orchard Alliance to assist you with a wide variety of planned giving options. If you have questions, please contact us.

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In a society that’s always striving for success, it can be easy to lose sight of how Scripture actually defines it. Discovering common pitfalls for some Christians can help you plot out a clear plan for:

  • Living well
  • Providing for your loved ones
  • Investing in the eternal

Request our free bulletin to discover how you can leave a legacy that impacts their lives.

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Legacy Giving Resources

Writing an Ethical Will

An Ethical Will is a personal document you write in order to help you pass on your beliefs, values and more to your loved ones.

Learn More

Free Christian Will Guide

This free workbook will guide you through collecting important information for getting started updating or creating your Will.

Download Your Guide

Important Documents

Help your loved ones to find the information they'll need when the time comes by gathering these important documents.

Learn More

Explore Ways to Give

Tax-Wise Giving

In order to help you with Legacy Giving options that may impact your tax status, we’ve partnered with Orchard Alliance. Watch videos from Orchard Alliance to learn more about other ways you can give to Denver Rescue Mission.

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Gifts From Your Will/Trust

Our partners at Orchard Alliance have also created a series of videos to help you understand how making a gift from your Will or Trust can make a difference for you, for your loved ones and for years to come at the Mission.

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Get Started

If you're interested in creating a Legacy Gift to the Mission, or want to learn more about how Legacy Giving may work for you, please contact us to get started. Our dedicated staff are ready to help you learn more and take the next step.

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Legacy Giving FAQ

Now that you have a basic idea of what you need to do to create your Will, here are some additional resources to help answer any questions you may have:

How do I include the Mission's work in my Will?

Here are the most common ways to significantly increase your ministry impact through your Will:

  • Add "Ministry" to your family: Some families treat ministry organizations like an additional child. For example, if a family has three children, they might add a fourth child named "Ministry" and divide the assets in their Will into four equal parts. Each of their children would receive 25%, and the remaining 25% would be divided among their favorite ministry organizations.
  • Tithe on your Estate: Other families commit a 10% tithe of their estate to the ministry organizations they love, dividing the remaining 90% among their heirs.
  • Add a "Cap" to your Will: Others prayerfully decide to "cap" their children’s inheritance, leaving the rest of their assets to ministry. This approach is used when the parents want to provide a modest gift to bless their children and eliminate concerns of creating dependence or giving too much too soon.
  • Update an existing Will: An attorney can add, delete, or change an item in your Will with an additional statement called a "codicil." Here's an example: "I give, devise, and bequeath twenty-five percent (25%) of my residuary estate to [church or ministry name] whose address is [city, state, zip code]. Like a Will, a codicil must be dated, signed, and witnessed.

How do online Wills work?

Most Online Will sites guide you through a simple 3-step process:

  1. Answer Questions: You’ll be guided through a series of fill-in-the-blank questions about your wishes regarding your family, your property, who you want to be in charge of making sure your wishes are taken care of. The questionnaire is often provided at no charge, and most people can complete it within about 30 minutes.
  2. Review Answers: You’ll have an opportunity to review your own answers for completeness and accuracy. Some sites also provide online tools and “ask a lawyer” features to give you a more in-depth review.
  3. Finalize Documents: The last step is to receive your documents online or in the mail. The Online Will site will also provide instructions for getting signatures to finalize your documents, as well as storage recommendations.

Do I need a lawyer to make a Will?

No. There is no legal requirement that a Will be drawn up by a lawyer. Most people can use quality, fill-in-the-blank legal documents to take care of basic concerns such as leaving their property to loved ones and naming a guardian for young children. However, there are a number of situations where it would be highly recommended to work with a lawyer instead of an Online Will:

  • If you have significant assets.
  • If you have a special needs, disabled, or dependent adult child.
  • If you’ve been divorced or re-married.
  • If you think one of your heirs might contest your Will.
  • If you own a small business.
  • If you are concerned about guardianship issues for minor children.
  • If you’re raising grandchildren or stepchildren.
  • If you or your spouse are citizens of another country.
  • If you have questions about your Will or the Online form doesn't address your situation.

How do I find a Christian Estate Planning Attorney?

If you decide to use a lawyer to create or update your Will—or review your Online Will—you’ll want to find an attorney who shares your Christian values and is knowledgeable in estate planning. There are 3 sources you can check for a referral to a trusted Christian estate planning attorney:

  1. Contact Us: You can contact our office or Orchard Alliance for a referral.
  2. Christian Legal Society: You can go online for a referral from the Christian Legal Society, a national network of approximately 3,000 legal professionals committed to loving and serving Jesus Christ in the practice of law.
  3. Your Pastor: Your Pastor is probably connected to a wide network of people, which may include a Christian estate planning attorney. Even if he doesn’t know a Christian attorney, he can ask others for a trusted referral because of his position.

What are the advantages of an Online Will?

Is an online Will right for you? Below are four reasons people get an Online Will:

  • Affordable: Let’s face it. When it comes to getting a Will, cost is a big concern for many people. A lawyer may charge you $500 for a basic Will (and a lot more if your estate is complicated). But most people can get an Online Will for less than $70.
  • Easy: Online Will sites provide simple questionnaires that the average person can answer in about 30 minutes or less. With an attorney, you may have to schedule a couple of face-to-face appointments to review your information and to finalize your documents.
  • Quality: Do-it-yourself online legal documents have been accepted by court and government agencies in all 50 states. Some of the most popular Online Will sites were started by attorneys - and offer high-quality, legally valid, state-specific Wills.
  • Private: Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of discussing their financial and family information with a complete stranger. Although attorneys are required to keep your discussions confidential, many prefer the anonymity of fill-in-the-blank online forms.

I already have a gift to the Mission planned in my Will or estate. Do you need to know the details about it?

While you don't have to inform us of your legacy gift ahead of time, letting us know about it does help us plan better for the future and show you our appreciation. Legacy giving donors who set up a gift for us in their Will or estate become part of our Goodheart Society, named after a former, influential Mission director from nearly 100 years ago.

If you do want to inform us of your legacy gift plans, simply send us a Notice of Bequest to get started.

If you are creating a legacy gift to the Mission, you may need our EIN number: 84-6038762.

Get Started Today With Our Free Workbook!

A gift in your Will will help meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our community’s most vulnerable—changing lives for years to come. This free workbook provides insight and ideas for things to consider as you set up a God-honoring will, and it contains worksheets to help you collect the information you need to get started!

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Still Have Questions?

My name is Cindy Hendricks, and I am excited to help you find the right type of gift to match your legacy needs. If you have any questions, please contact me at 303.313.2441 or CHendricks@Denrescue.org.

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If you are creating a legacy gift to the Mission, you may need our EIN number: 84-6038762.

The information provided here is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting or other professional advice. For assistance in charitable planning, consult an attorney for legal advice or the services of a qualified professional.