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Man's Attempt to Give Money to Minister Challenged in Court

A Missouri court ruled on the matter.

• A husband's attempt to give more than half of his estate to his minister was challenged in court. A Missouri couple was married in 1967, and they signed wills and a "postnuptial agreement" specifying that they would not "give away any of their property during their marriage." Shortly before his death from kidney failure in 1987, the husband withdrew $26,000 from an investment account and gave it to the minister of his church. This transaction was never revealed to his wife. Following the husband's death, his widow began investigating his affairs, and discovered the $26,000 gift to the minister. When she asked the minister about the gift, he replied "that is between him and God. If you knew about the money, it would only hurt you, and you don't need to be hurt any more." The widow continued to investigate her husband's affairs, and later discovered that her husband had given the $26,000 ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • September 2, 1991

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