Laurie and Justin Mullin along with their kids Emily and Daniel. Photo courtesy of the Mullin family

Life insurance gifting is one way to help your Church

By  Vanessa Santilli, Catholic Register Special
  • November 2, 2013

At 40 years old, Justin Mullin started making contributions towards the gift he’ll leave behind to the Church.

Through the option of life insurance gifting, he’ll have time on his side.

“Some people gift money to the Church in their will, but I would rather do it through insurance because it will have more value in the end,” says Mullin, a former life insurance salesperson.

People can gift both a life insurance policy they already own, a policy that’s partly paid off or a new policy to the Church, says Quentin Schesnuik, manager of planned giving and personal gifts at the archdiocese of Toronto.

“What typically drives a person’s decision on gifting life insurance is whether they want the tax receipt now or if they want their estate to receive it,” says Schesnuik.

If parishioners donate a new policy to the Church — as is the case with Mullin and his wife Laurie — they will receive an annual tax receipt for the monthly premiums they pay.

The Mullins each took out a separate life insurance policy in 2012, naming the Church as both “owner” and “beneficiary.” Justin gave 20 per cent of his policy to St. Michael’s Cathedral and the remaining 80 per cent to their home parish of St. Mary’s in Brampton, Ont. Meanwhile, Laurie gave 100 per cent to St. Mary’s.

Justin, who was familiar with the process, says people should consider this donation vehicle when they’re at a younger age.

“It’s obviously cheaper when you’re younger and it’s worth more when you die because it grows in value.”

For example, says Schesnuik, taking the example of a healthy 25-year-old non-smoking male.

“The policy would cost him about $35 per month. And because he gets to write that off in his taxes, that could be as low as $24 per month.”

Justin opted for a 20-year plan.

“I pay for 20 years but the policy stays enforced until I pass away,” he says.

“If people start by the time they’re 30, they’re done paying by the time they’re 50 but they may live until 80.”

The Church helps many people and organizations, says Laurie.

“We’ve always given to the Church and this is just an alternative way of giving.”

Another scenario, explains Schesnuik, is gifting a life insurance policy you already own.

“If it’s paid and there’s no more premiums owed on it, then we would issue a tax receipt based on whatever the market value of the policy is.”

Development co-ordinator Elvira Foronda says the benefits to gifting life insurance are twofold.

“It is the gifter who benefits right now while you’re alive or as you pass away your estate will benefit,” says Foronda. “Then the gift comes to the Church in so much more. It exponentially grows.”

(Santilli is a freelance writer in Toronto.)

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