Statement from Bishop
As Bishop for the Diocese of Fairbanks, I want to thank you for your interest in learning how to make a charitable gift in your will or trust to the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska, the corporate legal name for the diocese. I especially appreciate if you have supported our missions in the past. I am very grateful for your past support, but need your continued support because there are not many job opportunities available in many areas of the interior, western and northern Alaska.
This lack of jobs and economic opportunity creates a need for assistance from you and this diocese by way of grants and other donations to provide basic ministries for many of the remote Eskimo and Athabascan village Catholic parishes. Due to a combination of a way of life that has been in existence for thousands of years and the poor economic conditions, many of the people living in those areas live a subsistence lifestyle. Native Alaskans who live a subsistence lifestyle depend on wildlife resources for food, shelter, tools and other basic necessities. A few years ago, a formal statement was issued which states the right of Alaska's indigenous peoples to continue and protect their way of life. If you would like to know more about this, you can read "A Catholic Perspective on Subsistence: Our Responsibility Toward Alaska's Bounty and Our Human Family."
Just as you would provide for your own personal family in your will, you can provide for your family of faith as well. Only with a will or trust are your wishes known and followed after death. As Christians, we know that charitable giving is not just a matter of tax deductions but also a matter of sharing the many blessings God has bestowed upon us. Your thoughtfulness in this matter means so much for the continued growth of this mission diocese in the far northern reaches of Alaska.
If you wish to make a charitable bequest, please use the legal name, Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska. As an example, you may wish to use the wording similar to: "I give the sum of $________ to the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska, 1316 Peger Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709"; or "I leave all (or a portion) of the rest, residue and remainder of my property of every kind and character, including personal property and real estate and wheresoever the same may be situated, I give and devise to the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska ...". If you already have a will, you can add an Addendum or Codicil with similar wording as stated above.
Please bear in mind that this is not legal advice, but is only an example of the type of wording that may be used in drafting a will. As the will is a legally binding instrument, it is highly recommended that it either be written or reviewed by an attorney. This is to ensure proper construction and correct wording in this very important document. If you do not have an attorney prepare the documents, it is usually better to have two witnesses sign the document as well.
There are a number of ways in which you may make a charitable gift to the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska in your will or trust as follows:
A percentage of the estate.
A specific amount.
All of the remainder or residue of your estate - that is, what is left after all beneficiaries have received their specific gifts and all debts and taxes have been satisfied.
Specify a certain property, such as real estate, life insurance proceeds, stocks or any tangible personal property owned.
A combination gift arrangement, such as a specific gift plus the remainder of the estate, or a portion thereof.
If you have a specific restriction for how you wish the gift to be used such as our Endowment Fund, building fund or any other number of options, it should be stated clearly in the will. This would then be treated as restricted funds to be used for a particular purpose. If the bequest is made to this diocese and if you do not have any specific areas of concern, the gift will be used at the discretion of the diocese, which may include current mission support, general operating expenses or adding to the Endowment Fund that would benefit our mission work in northern Alaska in perpetuity.
If you would like to discuss bequests, wills or trusts further, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff. Thank you again for your interest in leaving a bequest to our diocese in your will or trust. I pray that God blesses you and your loved ones throughout the year.
Bishop Chad Zielinski