Recently two different church members asked the same question. It indicated to me that perhaps our department has not made its position as clear as we had hoped; so, I hope to clarify this for anyone who might have the same question, but has not asked anyone in our office.
The Gift Planning and Trust Services Department remains willing to serve, when appropriate, as trustee for our members who wish to set up a trust. That has always been our policy, and we have no plans to alter that position.
What has changed is that we now assist members in establishing self-administered trusts, in which the trustor (person who sets up the trust) acts as his or her own trustee. In cases where the trustor is capable and desires to handle their own affairs, this is often a better method for administering the trust than to add a layer of administration by having our department act in that capacity. So, when setting up new trusts, or when revising older trusts that were set up before this option was available, we discuss this possibility with our members.
Perhaps some of the confusion comes from not fully understanding what a trustee is. The trustee is not the entity through whom you have established a trust; the trustee is the person who manages the trust. So it is possible to set up a trust through our department, but administer it yourself, so that the trustee is you, and not the director of the department.
We are not attempting to reduce the number of trusts, or the number or type of services we offer. Rather, we have expanded the options for one of our services. And for those who do not wish to make any changes, we are not trying to encourage them to do something that they either cannot do nor desire to do.
In all cases, the choice of who will serve as trustee belongs to the church member. We remain willing to serve in any appropriate capacity. If you would like to talk to us about revising a trust or a will, or about setting up an estate plan, or about a gift to the Lord’s work, please call our office at 763-424-8923.
Douglas L. Inglish Personal Ministries Director / Director Gift Planning & Trust Services
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