Wills and Bequests
‘And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.’ (Genesis 50:25)
‘Someday our bodies will die, and our spirit and soul will go to heaven. What use will be made of that part of us still on deposit in our estate? Will we be dragged into the courts as heirs fight over the estate or will we have already made a deposition of the funds through a Will? Does that Will provide for continued giving to the work of the Lord or is it merely given to loved ones? Joseph made commandment concerning his bones before he died (see Genesis 47:30). He reminded the children of Israel of God’s promise to return them to the land of promise and he wanted his bones to go with them in that glorious Exodus. He wanted to be part of the future move of God and made preparations for it – so can we. Whatever part of us is left over after our life has been lived can be invested in God’s work through Wills, bequests and gifts. But if we don’t deliberately make such provisions, it is possible that the deposit of our life left here on earth will be wasted, as far as the work of the Lord is concerned. It has been a source of sorrow to my heart to see how often the assets of a godly man fall into the hands of the ungodly to be wasted.’
Dr Judson Cornwall
“If world evangelization comes first, then we should concentrate on giving to missions and let others who do not have the vision, contribute to other things. There will always be plenty for the home work, for there are always those who put the home work first. The many worthwhile objects here at home will be cared for, since only the minority will be interested in the supreme task of the church. If we put missions first, then we will give more to missions than to anything else. Otherwise something else takes first place. There are business men here and each one has his own business enterprise. Now there is one department in your business that you look upon more important than any other department. Where then do you put most of your surplus money? Into that most important department. Why do you do that? Because you want to develop the most important department. Otherwise we do not put missions first and we do not believe that world evangelization is the supreme task of the church. I find very few ministers who really believe that the evangelization of the world is their most important work.”
Pastor Oswald J. Smith.
A rich man bequeathed his luxury tomb, which he had built for himself, to be used for Jesus. It was a beautiful secluded rock hewn sepulchre, in a pretty private garden. He did not know that Jesus would rise again when he gave it. He just determined: ‘This was mine, but I’m going to give it to Jesus.’
I always laugh when I think of Joseph leaving instructions that his bones be taken by Israel into the Promised Land. I can just imagine the conversation as a child says: ‘Dad, what is that clanking noise?’ and his father replying: ‘O, that is Joseph’s bones.’
He was second only to Pharaoh and could have been buried with pomp and ceremony in Egypt’s prestigious Valley of The Nobles, but as my late dear friend Dr Judson Cornwall pointed out, he left specific instructions because he wanted to be a part of the next great move of God too, following his death. Such things do not just happen. We too, like Joseph, must leave specific instructions while we are still alive.
King David wanted to build God a Temple at Jerusalem but God showed him that this would be the role of his son, Solomon. As a result David gathered together as much wealth as he could during his lifetime and then bequeathed it, for the work of God. He too wanted to be part of the next great move of God.
‘And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.’ (1 Chronicles 22:5)
Notice those words: ‘I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.’
I too want to be a part of the next great move of God and although I have left something in my will for my children, I have ensured that a major part of my estate is invested to ensure that my books are distributed free of charge to leaders across the world, especially in poor and developing countries and also that PGMI along with our television and media ministry continues broadcasting long after I am gone. I have actually set things up to expand our ministry impact after my departure even more than during my lifetime.
Every believer should have a God-honouring will. This term ‘God-honouring’ means that at least a part of what you have been blessed and entrusted with by the Lord during your time on earth, is designated to continue His work after you have gone. When you do not need it anymore, your resources can be used to accomplish even greater things for God than you even accomplished in your lifetime. Actually, last year over 50% of our income came from one wealthy man who had included PGMI in his will. Because he did we were able to touch millions for Christ. Amazingly, that is larger offerings from the dead than from the living! Isn’t it wonderful that you can still go on giving and earning a heavenly reward even after you have left this world? In fact, some of our largest events over the past few years, where vast numbers have made a commitment to the Lord would not have taken place if faithful believers had not included PGMI in their wills.
The following information is produced to help you to ensure that your wishes are carried out when you have gone on to your heavenly reward. In His goodness God has blessed us here on earth with so much. So, when we no longer need them, these resources can continue working on our behalf for the Kingdom of God. This is an important part of being a faithful steward. Jesus told us to ‘lay up your treasure in heaven’ (Matthew 6:19-21). We cannot take it with us, but though a God-honouring will, we can send it on after we have gone. In fact, by planning in advance, many can give more to God’s work in death than during their whole lifetime. Isn’t it amazing that we can go on adding to our heavenly reward even after our life here on earth has ended?
For example, many paid just a few thousand when they purchased their home. (My parents paid £13,000 for theirs). Isn’t it therefore amazing that the average British home is now worth over a quarter of a million! Most Christians have never even dreamed that they could give such a large amount to the work of the Lord, yet by leaving their home in their will to PGMI they can give more than in their whole lifetime combined.
Sadly, because many believers fail to get around to making a will, everything so often gets left to unsaved relatives to fight over and is so often squander. One couple I know left everything to their son, who on inheriting it, divorced his wife and left her and their children and became a serial womanizer. Another couple who were in my former church left everything to their son. He soon found a pretty girlfriend, who eagerly married him. She already had a son, who he adopted, but shortly afterwards she left him for another man, divorced him and took the whole lot, including the former parent’s home. He died shortly afterwards of a broken heart.
Making a God-Honouring Will should be your number one priority!
Why is making a God-Honouring Will so important?
A Will is a written legal record, of how you wish your property and assets to be distributed after your death. The absence of such a document, is called dying ‘intestate.’ A 2014 article in The Daily Telegraph revealed:
1. Approximately half of Brits die intestate.
2. This means that their wishes after death are usually not carried out.
3. Additionally, dying intestate or with an out-of-date Will on average costs their heirs £9,700 in ‘lost’ assets.
4. Some have to turn to costly solicitors and probate detectives, costing families on average an extra £2,250 in unnecessary additional legal fees after a loved one’s death.
5. Approximately 175,000 Brits a year struggle to track down relatives assets resulting in an average loss of around £20,000 per heir.
6. Without a will, the ultimate beneficiaries may also not be the people that you would have chosen. Relatives you have not spoken to for years may have a rightful claim on your estate if you have not specifically excluded them.
7. Each year billions of Pounds / Dollars go unclaimed, because relatives did not know the savings accounts existed and therefore they become the bank’s property. This is one of the main reasons why banks are so rich.
8. If you do not leave a will, the government may also be able to claim your entire estate.
9. Each year around £10 billion left intestate goes into the government coffers which could have been used for the extension of God’s Kingdom!
10. If you have no family, it is even more important to make a Will now or else the government is sole official beneficiary of your estate.
11. Failing to write a will frequently results in irreparable division and animosity amongst siblings and family members.
12. Some assume their partner or children will get everything. This is often, however, not the case.
13. If you die without making a will distribution of the proceeds from your estate can be held up for years, in case someone else is discovered who has a legitimate claim on part of it. This can even be held up for decades, with money inaccessible to your loved ones when they need it most.
14. Failing to make a will also ensures that none of that which God has entrusted to you, will be used to advance His Kingdom.
15. Ultimately, making a Will which includes the work of God shows the Lord that you are a faithful stewards. All we have been given comes from God (1 Chronicles 29:14), and it is only right that a part of it should be given back to Him.
So, why do people put off making a will?
1. They assume they can do it later, but over half of the population never do and die before they get around to it.
2. Others leave it until they are deemed no longer mentally sound to make such a decision, enabling others, especially unsaved relatives to claim everything.
3. Many think they are too young, but life is unpredictable and death can come unexpectedly to any of us.
4. Some think they are not wealthy enough. Far from true, as mentioned, the average home today alone is now worth around a quarter of a million.
5. Most incorrectly assume that everything will go to their spouse, whereas if they die intestate this is often not the case, with others having a possible claim on their estate. Not only can this result it expensive legal expenses (which can quickly eat up all that you have left) but can take years before you loved ones or favourite ministry receiving anything.
6. This is even more important if you have no children, to ensure that your assets are used to spread the Gospel rather than being taken by the government, as will most likely happen if you have not specified otherwise in a Will.
7. One option to discuss with your solicitor / lawyer is to legally sign over your property or assets to the ministry while you are still alive, with a legal clause that you can live there until your death. Otherwise, if you end up in a senior citizens home, the government will take your home and sell it and only pay for your care when all of your money has been used up and some retirement homes charge thousands a week.
8. Others put off making a Will saying: ‘I believe Jesus will come before I die.’ While this is a noble belief, millions have already passed on who thought this way, including the early disciples. As Jesus said: ‘No man knows the day or the hour’ of His return. Although all the other signs of His return have been fulfilled, the most important and final sign ‘this Gospel must be preached to every creature’ has not yet been fulfilled. Half of the world has still not heard the gospel, even one time. This is why including PGMI in your will is a way of helping ‘hasten the coming of the Lord’ and speeding up His return. Added to this, Jesus primary emphasis concerning His return was on wise stewardship. What better way of showing your faithfulness and loyalty to the Lord than by including His work in your will? I am convinced that there will be extra special reward in heaven for those who have honoured the Lord this way.
Who should make a Will?
Anyone who is 18 years of age or more.
When should I make a Will?
PHONE A LAWYER / SOLICITOR AND BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TO DO IT TODAY!
How do I make a Will?
• Legal expertise is essential to ensure that your Will is watertight, free from ambiguities and is an authoritative and definitive document. Telling your family or friends your wishes is not enough.
• Making a Will is not an expensive exercise and a solicitor should give you a quote on the likely cost before work begins.
• You will need to appoint one or more executors who can administer your estate after your death. Their full names and address should be supplied to your solicitor for inclusion in the Will. To ensure everything is carried out according to your wishes it may be best to appoint the solicitor to act as an executor and their services to be paid for out of the proceeds of the estate.
• It is important to work out the likely value of your estate by making a list of the things you own (house, furniture, car, valuables, jewellery, savings, stocks, shares, bonds, investments, life insurance policies etc.) with an estimate of their value. This should then be offset against your liabilities (mortgage, loans and credit cards). A form to help you to do this has been included at the end.
• The full names and addresses of any ministries or individuals you wish to include in your Will need to be provided.
• A solicitor will initially prepare a draft of the Will and ask you to check that it reflects your wishes. When your content has been agreed, a final version will be produced.
• To ensure it is valid and recognised, your Will must be properly signed and dated. This should be done in front of two witnesses who must not be beneficiaries, executors or their spouses. The witnesses must then sign it in front of you and each other. No one should leave until this procedure has been completed. Staff at the solicitors office may be able to witness your will.
• In the U.K., Wallington Missionary Mart of 105 Stafford Rd, Wallington, SM6 9AP (Tel: 0208 6693495) is run by Cristian auctioneers who give their services free (except for transport costs) and will sell antiques, valuables and household items and will donate the proceeds to PGMI as long as you specify that they do so. They collect from various parts of the country.
• Wills are automatically cancelled by marriage, which includes remarriage after divorce.
• For privacy and to avoid others seeking to impose their wishes upon you it is entirely appropriate to ask family members or friends to leave the room while you discuss your wishes and compile your will with the lawyer / solicitor.
• If you do not wish others to know you plans or to try to influence your choices a taxi RIDE to the appointment is just a small additional expense. Some lawyers may even come out to you.
• You can ask a couple of Christian friends to join you at the appointment to witness the document or ask the solicitors when you call if they have staff who can act as the witnesses.
• Your solicitor or Bank should retain the original Will and you should hold a copy for reference purposes. Your executor(s) should know where the original is located. Let family and close friends also know where your will is held.
• If you do not have a solicitor, there are plenty of law firms listed in the Yellow Pages, local telephone book or by a web search for ‘local solicitors.’ Just do not put it off any longer.
How do I update or change my Will?
You can make minor changes and updates by way of a codicil, which is witnessed and signed in the same way as a Will and supplements the terms of an existing Will either by adding, amending or revoking part of it. A codicil must be executed in exactly the same way as a Will. This means that as well as including the amendments to your Will, a codicil must confirm all the other contents, and it must also be signed in exactly the same way as a Will, otherwise, it is invalid. It is, therefore, once again, wise to involve a solicitor / lawyer when adding a codicil to your Will.
How can I give to PGMI in my Will?
There are several ways of leaving money, property or gifts to PGMI in your Will, three are outlined below:
• Pecuniary Legacy – This type of gift is a fixed amount of money. Some avoid making this form of bequest because inflation gradually reduces the value of the gift and means that the Will may need regular updating.
• Specific Legacy – This is a gift of a particular item, land or property owned by you. You should make sure that it is clearly identified in your Will.
• Residuary Legacy – This is a gift given from the residue (or remainder) of your property. The residue is all your property after all other legacies have been paid, together with any debts, liabilities and taxes.
Wording of your Will
The following is an example, however, you a lawyer will ensure that the correct wording is used.
Legacy of a fixed sum of money
I give and bequeath to Peter Gammons Ministries International (P.G.M.I.) P.O. Box 4, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE26 1SW, England (hereinafter referred to as ‘the mission’) the sum of £ _______ free of all duties and I declare that the receipt of the Treasurer or other person authorised to give receipts on behalf of P.G.M.I. shall be sufficient discharge of the bequest.
Legacy of a percentage of the residue of an Estate
I give and bequeath to Peter Gammons Ministries International (P.G.M.I.) P.O. Box 4, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE26 1SW, England (hereinafter referred to as ‘the mission’) _____% (percent) of the residue of my estate, free of all duties and I declare that the receipt of the Treasurer or other person authorised to give receipts on behalf of P.G.M.I. shall be sufficient discharge of the bequest.
Legacy of specific valuables to be sold through Wallington Mission Mart
The following articles (list attached) shall be sold as soon as may be expedient or convenient after the date of my death and the net proceeds of sale after payment of the proper expenses of sale (if any) be given to Peter Gammons Ministries International (P.G.M.I.) P.O. Box 4, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE26 1SW, England (hereinafter referred to as ‘the mission’). I direct that such sale shall be effected by Wallington Missionary Mart & Auctions of 105 Stafford Rd, Wallington, SM6 9AP (Tel: 0208 6693495) who thereupon shall be at liberty to apply the net proceeds aforesaid in accordance with the terms of this bequest without further reference to my executors and I declare that the receipt of the Treasurer or other person authorised to give receipts on behalf of P.G.M.I. shall be sufficient discharge of the bequest.
Legacy of the residue of an Estate, including valuables to be sold through Wallington Missionary Mart
I give and bequeath all the rest and residue of my estate and effects both real and personal whatsoever and wheresoever situated unto my executors to sell the same and to pay the net proceeds after payment of the proper expenses of sale (if any expenses) to Peter Gammons Ministries International (P.G.M.I.) P.O. Box 4, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE26 1SW, England (hereinafter referred to as ‘the mission’). I declare that the receipt of the Treasurer or other person authorised to give receipts on behalf of P.G.M.I. shall be a good and sufficient discharge of the bequest. And I further direct that the sale of any of my personal effects as defined by Section 55 (1) (x) of the Administration of Estate Act 1925 shall be effected through Wallington Missionary Mart & Auctions of 105 Stafford Rd, Wallington, SM6 9AP (Tel: 0208 6693495) with clear directions issued to them that the net proceeds of sale after payment of the proper expenses of sale (if any) be given to Peter Gammons Ministries International (P.G.M.I.) P.O. Box 4, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE26 1SW, England (hereinafter referred to as ‘the mission’).
Adding a codicil to your Will
I …………………………… of ……………………………………………………………………… (address) declare this to be a (first) Codicil to my Will dated ……………………………………………
(1) In addition to any legacies given by my said Will I give to Peter Gammons Ministries International (P.G.M.I.) P.O. Box 4, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE26 1SW, England the sum of £ ……………………………………………… plus the following items ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or other person authorised to give receipts on behalf of P.G.M.I. shall be a good and sufficient discharge of the bequest.
(2) In any other respects I confirm my said Will and any previous Codicils thereto.
(3) In witness whereof I have hereby set my hand this ……….. day of …………….. 20 …….
(4) Signed by the said as a ………….. codicil to his /her Last Will in the presence of us who at his / her request in his / her presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names and witness.
For U.S. Partners please note: In the USA Peter Gammons Ministries International / PGMI is registered as World Miracle Church, Florida Inc., PO Box 605000, Orlando FL, 32860 USA Tel: 1-8778-MIRACLE (1-877-8647225)
You have made an important step by reading this, you now need to take the most important step, by determining the contents of your Will. Then, make an appointment with a solicitor / lawyer TODAY.
May you know God’s peace and blessing as you undertake this important and responsible activity.
Whilst we have tried to insure that the information contained in this leaflet is correct, the Law does change, and we would strongly advise you to discuss your proposed actions with your solicitor or legal adviser before proceeding.
Valuing Your Estate
What I Own
Land _________ ________________________
Other properties _________________________
Bank Account __________________________
Stocks & shares_________________________
Government Bonds _____________________
Money owed to me_______________________
Total Assets _______________________________
What I Owe
Total owed _______________________________
Final Value of Your Estate
Total Assets minus total debts ______________________
Approximate value of estate __________________________