Please Remember the Church in your Will, Trust, or other Plan! 

The Foundation for the Diocese of Helena is here to help you support the future of our Diocese.  No matter where you are on life’s path, no matter the amount you have to give, you can make a lasting difference…now and into the future.

Naming your parish, the diocese, or an endowment within The Foundation for the Diocese of Helena, Inc. as a beneficiary in your will or other planned gift allows you to make a final statement about the importance the Church played in your life. By bequeathing a gift to the Church you assure a legacy for those left behind, a declaration that says, “Catholic values and interests are important to me.” You also make a statement: “my intention is that the Mission of the Church will continue for future generations after I have gone to my eternal reward.”

There are a variety of ways to live out Christian stewardship during your lifetime and beyond. You will find these plans help maximize the benefits of the gift both to you and to the Church.  A comprehensive Estate Planning and Planned Giving Toolkit is available from the Foundation upon request.


Bequests (or gifts through your will) are one of the easiest ways to give to the Church and charity. Not only are gifts through a will simple, they can be beneficial to your estate as they are deductible against any tax. As the cornerstone of most estate plans, a will is a tremendously important document and professional advice from an estate planning attorney is strongly recommended. The planning and care that go into making a gift through your will make a wonderful statement about the values you have held throughout your life.

[How to Word a Bequest for the Church]
[Church ID Numbers…]

Beneficiary Designations

You can designate your parish, the diocese, or a Foundation endowment as beneficiary of your bank/credit union accounts (called a “payable on death beneficiary”), and/or your investment accounts of stocks, bonds, mutual funds (called a “transfer on death beneficiary”).  It’s as simple as contacting your financial institution or investment advisor and requesting the appropriate paperwork.  [Learn more…]

Charitable Gift Annuity

Through a charitable gift annuity you can make a gift to the Church and receive income for life. With the transfer of cash or marketable securities, you then enjoy regular payments for the rest of your life; and with a two-life arrangement, for the life of a second beneficiary. Upon the death of the last beneficiary, the remainder of your annuity would go to your parish, the Foundation, the Diocese of Helena, or a charity of your choice.

Currently, the State of Montana offers an income tax credit to individuals who use a planned gift such as an annuity to make gifts to permanent, qualified endowments such as those endowments in the Foundation for the Diocese of Helena.  [Learn more…]

Charitable Remainder Trust

A charitable remainder trust allows you to make a generous gift to the Church while retaining a life income from the trust for one or more beneficiaries. At the death of the last beneficiary, the Church receives the “remainder” of the trust. Besides relieving you of the management of the assets, this trust also provides income tax, capital gains tax and estate tax benefits.  They can be established as “Unitrust” or an “Annuity Trust”.  Unitrust pays out a set percentage of the trust annually, which can change each year, while an annuity trust pays out a set dollar amount annually that doesn’t change.

Charitable Lead Trust

This is similar to a charitable remainder trust, except the trust will pay the endowment fund you designate with the Foundation for a period of time or your lifetime.  After that period of time, your heirs receive the trust assets.

Retained Life Estate Contract

A personal residence or farm can be deeded to the Church while you retain a life estate; this is the right to live on the property for as long as you and, if you are married, your spouse live. With this agreement, the donor receives an immediate income tax deduction for the gift and avoids some probate expenses.  [Learn more…]

Beneficiary Deed

As of October 1, 2019, the law governing Beneficiary Deeds in Montana has changed.  Beneficiary Deeds have been changed to Transfer on Death Deeds.  Once updated materials are available to the public we will have links to those resources available here.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is an ideal means for a charitable gift. By designating the Church as owner or beneficiary of a new or existing life insurance policy, you will be able to make a meaningful gift. You will also receive tax advantages. A gift through life insurance is a wonderful opportunity for you to provide a living memorial for you, your family or someone you love.

Retirement Plan

If there are assets remaining in your retirement plan (IRA, 401(k), Keogh, etc.) at the time of your death, your heirs may have to pay up to 75% of those assets in estate, income and excess accumulation taxes. Naming the Foundation, the diocese, or your parish as the final beneficiary of a retirement plan avoids these taxes and enables you to make a significant and memorable contribution to the Church.

Please consult with your attorney as he or she is the only one qualified to offer counsel in regard to your estate planning.