We continue our interview with Matthew Moreland, RMC associate director of planned giving and trust. In this installment, we will ask Moreland about the estate planning and trust services available to RMC members and the unique features RMC offers its members.
NewsNuggets: People have heard planned giving and trust services offer estate planning, but they don’t really understand the steps needed or the services you offer, and all of the services are free of charge, correct?
Matthew Moreland: Yes, it’s free, and that’s probably the biggest thing that people don’t know. Before I joined the department, I didn’t know myself.
The Rocky Mountain Conference is unique in that we don’t require you to leave anything to the church. A lot of people do leave something to the church. I’d say the majority of people do, but this is a free service for your family. It also gives you peace of mind knowing everything is in order in case something happens to you.
NN: How does a member start the process?
Matthew Moreland: They can call or email us stating they desire to do a will or trust. We will send them an intake packet that will collect some basic information.
It can be a bit overwhelming for some, but when they call us, we can walk them through it. We can also do a visitation and sit down and meet with them and help them fill it out. After the packet is filled out, we send the information to our attorney, who makes sure the documentation is in order.
NN: You mentioned that you can do a visitation with members. How does that work?
Matthew Moreland: Typically, I go to their house or meet them at their church. However, when I do visitations that are far away, I try to meet with several different people. For instance, I just returned from the Western Slope where I visited five people. This is the Lord’s money, and I want to use it wisely and not just go out to meet with one person when gas is so expensive. I always try to bundle multiple visitations.
NN: What is the advantage of having the Rocky Mountain Conference serve as executor for a members’ trust and will?
Matthew Moreland: For a will, we prefer to have a family member be the executor. But if you don’t have a family member, the Rocky Mountain Conference is willing to step into that role. The executor will be closing out your estate. They’re going to be selling your house, paying off your bills, and doing your final tax return.
I can see how it can be intimidating, but a lot of family members will call us, and we’ll walk them through the process. That’s also a service that we provide.
NN: On the intake form, you ask for some personal information like bank account numbers and other financial information. Why do you need this, and how is this information safeguarded?
Matthew Moreland: I get asked that question a lot. This is mainly for when we are the executor. The simple answer is that we need that information to close out the accounts. It makes the process simpler and faster. That’s the main reason why we ask for that information, but also for use in distribution. We cannot distribute money to somebody unless we have their Social Security number. But even if we are not the executor, whoever is your executor will need that information. The process is so much smoother when all that information is in one spot.
Your information is extremely important to us. We keep everyone’s information locked up in our vault file room. We get audited every three years during which our processes are looked at critically. We have a process that we are required to follow completely, and we have done very well in our audits for a very long time. The information is very secure, and we handle it appropriately. That’s shown through our audits that receive high marks.
NN: Do you handle estates and wills for individuals who are not Seventh-day Adventists?
Matthew Moreland: Yes, if a spouse is not an Adventist, we will handle their estate planning if they choose to have us do so. In my experience, those we assist who are not Adventists are extremely grateful that we provide this service. And they’ve been very impressed with what we have done. I met with someone whose spouse was an Adventist, but they were not. The Adventist spouse passed, and the spouse left behind was very thankful for the way we handled the situation. We were able to get her a new estate plan set up and she was very happy that we would still do it for her.
NN: What do you want RMC members to know about your department and the process of estate planning?
Matthew Moreland: That the process is strictly confidential. Confidentiality is so important to us because, not only is it the law, but we don’t want to lose anyone’s trust. We would never divulge anyone’s information to anyone outside of our team.
This is an amazing service The Rocky Mountain Conference provides for its church members. Having a Will or Trust in place will give you the peace of mind that your estate will be distributed how you wanted it to be.
NN: Thank you, Matthew, for sharing these important services with RMC members.
Photo by iStock