Matthew Moreland is the associate director of planned giving and trust services for the Rocky Mountain Conference. NewsNuggets invited him to share the value of the services offered to not only church members but the services they provide to the local church as well. In part 1, we will look at the services the department provides to local churches and the lesser-known services that are also available. Next week, in part 2, we will examine the estate planning options available free of charge to RMC members and how to take advantage of this free service.
NewsNuggets: Thank you, Matthew, for sitting down with us. When we hear the name “planned giving and trust services”, many people think of the will and estate planning services offered. What are some of the other items the department handles?
Matthew Moreland: We are responsible for all the properties within our conference. Some of our work is similar to serving as a property manager. If a church or school is buying or selling a property, we handle that.
We also handle the lease agreements when the church or school is being rented out to another entity or when one of our groups lease a facility.
NN: If a local church wants to rent out their facility, they should work through your department. Why?
Matthew Moreland: We have certain insurance and tax exemption protocols that need to be followed to ensure our schools and churches don’t lose their tax exemption status. We have to confirm that everything is in place and has had a legal review before renting out to anyone.
NN: Is it important that every church follows the procedures and steps before renting out their facility?
Matthew Moreland: Yes, this process protects all parties involved and makes sure we track usage for the required annual reports. Failure to follow procedures could result in legal exposure, loss of insurance coverage, or increased costs.
NN: You mentioned that the department handles all the church and school properties. Are there other properties you manage?
Matthew Moreland: Our main job is to facilitate wills and trust, but we occasionally receive a donated property. Under the direction of the Property & Trust committee, we view the property received and then list it for sale. We sometimes receive mineral rights on a particular piece of property and handle those in a similar manner.
NN: What other services do you offer to the local churches?
Matthew Moreland: We offer estate planning seminars. These have been on hold the last couple of years, but we will schedule more in the future. The goal is to help families understand how to plan for their own security and to carry our their charitable intent efficiently, whether they work through our department or otherwise.
This summer , our team members plan to attend all of the RMC camp meetings, so we will have the opportunity to meet individuals and answer questions. We always have someone there from our department.
NN: Your work sounds like a lot of business transactions. I understand that planned giving and trust services considers the work you do is a ministry. Can you explain how you share the love of Jesus?
Matthew Moreland: During COVID, I received many calls from people wanting to ensure their estate was in order, but it took [on] more of a pastoral role because people were lonely. There were people who didn’t leave their house for six months, and they had a need to talk to somebody. They just wanted the comfort of knowing everything was okay.
I don’t rush to get off my phone calls with people. It is a privilege to listen to and comfort them.
Someone called me every other week, and we would talk for a half-hour or sometimes an hour. They were lonely, and I was able to visit with them. I had a relationship with them because I had done their estate planning. The spouse passed away during this time, and it was important to me to be available to minister to this individual. A very important part of our ministry is to give peace of mind to individuals.
In many cases the support we offer goes beyond the individual who signs an estate plan with us. We can support their family by helping settle the estate, helping them understand the responsibilities they have been assigned, or directing them toward the resources they will need, such as providing forms or contact information for agencies they will need to work with. If we can help a family member cut through red tape, meet a deadline, or remember an important step, we feel really good about that. That’s part of how we honor the wishes of those who put their trust in us.
–RMCNews; photo by iStock