Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

What is a Revocable and Irrevocable Trust?

A trust is an agreement between two parties, the trustor (the one who makes the agreement) and the trustee (the one who does what the trustor has instructed).  A revocable trust is one in which the trustor retains full control, can add or remove assets, or even cancel the agreement. An Irrevocable trust is one in which the trustee retains full control. Assets can only be added, not removed and it can never be cancelled.


Why would one want a trust?

There are a number of reasons. A will is a public document (anyone can go in and ask to see your will) and must be probated within a certain time. A trust is a private document. No one has any right to see what your wishes or assets were unless they were a beneficiary, or obviously an auditor of the trustee. A trust has a life of its own specified in the document. For instance it might last until ones children are through school, having provided for their care. It might last for the lifetime of a handicapped child helping to provide for their needs. A trust is a private document between you and the trustee. It might last while you were incompetent in old age, providing for your needs and caring for your assets. The trustee is not dependant on a court to carry out your wishes. It does not need to be probated and any assets which you have placed in your trust during your life are not subject to the probate process of fees.

One use of a trust is to avoid the probate process completely or to avoid opening probate in a second state on your death. One could have Florida Vacation Property in a trust. The trust would simply carry out your wishes with regard to this property. Such as sign it over to your children, sell it and distribute the money to whomever you have named. Otherwise on your death your executor would have to open Florida probate in order to care for this property. Thus you could need probate in multiple states. A trust can avoid that.

An individual or an organization may serve as the trustee of a trust. One can even be the trustee of their own trust, managing their own affairs as long as they can then having a backup trustee who would take over when they can no longer manage things, again avoiding the probate process.


What is a gift annuity?

A gift annuity is an annuity issued by a charitable organization, which promises to pay a set amount for the lifetime of one or two persons, in exchange for a gift to the organization.

A charitable gift annuity: 1. Provides an opportunity to make a gift to charity, 2. Provides fixed income for life, 3. Provides current deduction for a future gift, 4. Provides for bypass of Capitol Gains on the Gift of Property, 5. The gift portion is out of the Estate for Tax Purposes, 6. Provides protection of the asset from lawsuits. This is great for professionals. This is an irrevocable gift.  The rate of payment (interest rate) is determined by the age(s) of the annuitant(s). We follow the rates recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities.


What is a deferred gift annuity?

A deferred gift annuity is an annuity which is purchased but does not begin making payments for an agreed upon time period. Once payments begin they are for a higher rate to compensate for the time the charity has been able to invest and thus earn income and grow the initial gift. These are great for people who don’t need the income now but wish greater income later (after retirement).



A document in which a person specifies the method to be applied in the management and distribution of their estate after their death. A will is the legal instrument that permits a person, the testator, to make decisions on how their estate will be managed and distributed after their death. If a person does not leave a will, or the will is declared invalid, the person will have died intestate, resulting in the distribution of the estate according to the laws of Desent and Distribution of the statin in which the person resided. Because of the importance of a will, the law requires it to have certain elements to be valid. Apart from these elements, a will may be ruled invalid if the testator made the will as the result of undue influence, fraud, or mistake.

A will serves a variety of important purposes. It enables a person to select their heirs rather than allowing the state laws of descent and distribution to choose their heirs, who, although blood relatives, might be people the testator dislikes or with whom may be unacquainted. A will allows a person to decide which individual could best serve as the personal representative of their estate, distributing the property fairly to the beneficiaries while protecting their interests, rather than allowing a court to appoint a stranger to serve as administrator. A will safeguards a person’s right o select an individual to serve as guardian to raise their young children in the event of their death.



Who would you want to care for your minor children should something happen to you? Would you want a court giving them to someone of a different faith? One way to avoid this is to have a will and in that will to name a guardian and alternate guardian for your children. This is the way to provide for your most important gift from God, your children.


Power of Attorney Healthcare

A legal form that allows an individual to empower another with decisions regarding his or her healthcare and medical treatment. Healthcare power of attorney becomes active when a person is unable to make decisions or consciously communicate intentions regarding treatments.


Power of Attorney Finance

The durable financial power of attorney is simply a way to allow someone else to manage your finances in the event that you become incapacitated and are unable to make those decisions yourself. … More precisely, it grants someone legal authority to act on your behalf for financial issues.







For any inquiries call the Wisconsin Conference office at 920-484-6555