Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Woman’s Estate Plan Leaving Funds to Church Can Not Be Subverted by Caregiver’s Undue Influence
Key point 4-03. A gift to a church or minister may be challenged on the ground that the recipient unduly influenced the donor into making the gift. There are several factors the courts will consider in deciding whether or not undue influence occurred, including the age and mental health of the donor, and the presence of independent legal advice. Undue influence generally must be proven by "clear and convincing" evidence.

A Florida court ruled that an elderly woman's estate plan that left her entire estate to her church could not be altered through the undue influence of the woman's caretaker, who attempted to redirect the estate to herself. An elderly woman (the "decedent") and her late husband executed a family trust and pour-over wills in 2009, several months before he died. The trust provided that, if the husband died first, then upon his wife's death, the entire estate would go to their church. When the wife died, the estate was valued at $350,000 consisting of bank accounts. No document existed purporting to take these accounts out of the estate left to the church—until a few days before the wife died.

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

View All
from our store
2020 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

2020 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

Find comprehensive help understanding United States tax laws as they relate to pastors and churches.
Talking to Your Congregation About Money

Talking to Your Congregation About Money

Helpful insights on talking about money and encouraging people to become generous givers.
Church Governance

Church Governance

What leaders must know to conduct legally sound church business.
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition

Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.