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Deductability of Testamentary Gifts

The IRS national office recently ruled on this issue.

Does a testamentary gift left to a church in a decedent's will, with the instruction that masses are to be said for the benefit of the deceased and other individuals, qualify for a charitable contribution deduction for estate tax purposes? Yes, ruled the IRS national office. The deceased's will contained the following article:

Two thousand Dollars ($2,000) shall be paid to [the church] to say Masses for the … souls [of five named deceased individuals] at the payment of three dollars ($3.00) paid for each Mass; the balance of the money left from the sale of the said [property] after these bequests are paid out, shall be paid to [the church] to say Masses for my soul … at the payment of three dollars ($3.00) paid for each Mass. [The church] shall use the money exclusively for Masses for my soul.

It is the policy of the church and of the religious order staffing the church ...

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Posted:
  • September 2, 1991

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