PGTS Accreditation Standards

Effective January 1, 2023

(Click here for the former Standards)

The list of standards that must be met in order to attain and maintain Level A accreditation.

Personnel

Standard 1 – Certification

All Planned Giving & Trust Services (PGTS) personnel, including appropriate accounting/treasury staff, should begin the certification process within one year, and complete the process within two years, of beginning to perform any discretionary trust/estate management or development functions. (NADWP S40 25) [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Standard 2 – COI Statements

Current signed conflict of interest statements are on file for the controlling board/committee members and all PGTS personnel performing any discretionary trust /estate management or development functions. (NADWP E 85 25 and S 85 20) [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Standard 3 – Fidelity Bond

All PGTS personnel are adequately covered by a fidelity bond. (NADWP S 04 47) [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Professional Advisor

Standard 4 – Opinion Letters & Dual Representation

The Professional Ethics for Legal Counsel policy is being complied with including:

a. A written opinion has been obtained from the attorney licensed to practice in the applicable jurisdiction regarding the activities PGTS personnel may properly engage in and the risks that may be involved.

b. (1) The denominational organization and the donor(s) are represented by separate independent legal counsel unless the attorney representing both the organization and the donor(s) has provided the organization with a legal opinion stating that the attorney may represent both parties concurrently in harmony with good professional
ethics and applicable law and rulings.
(2) The opinion, which shall be updated at least every five years, shall provide legal citations where appropriate (e.g., statutes, court opinions, ethics opinions and rulings, etc.), and shall address the following:
(i) Estate planning documents that may be prepared under dual representation (e.g., will, trust, durable financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, living will, etc.);
(ii) Source of the legal fees for the various documents and manner of payment (e.g., partial or full payment by donor(s), partial or full payment by the organization directly to the attorney or by reimbursement to donor(s));
(iii) The party to whom the attorney’s primary duty is owed; and
(iv) Any other issues deemed relevant by the attorney.

c. If the above attorney is engaged in the drafting of wills, trusts, or other estate planning documents for the donor(s), there is:
(1) An engagement letter setting forth the basic financial arrangement of who pays the fee, and
(2) A full disclosure statement and conflict of interest waiver are provided to and signed by the donor(s).

NOTE: The foregoing Standard 4 is not intended to preclude a situation where disclosure is made to the donor(s) that the attorney represents only the denominational organization, and the donor(s) decline(s) a recommendation to obtain independent legal counsel. [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Standard 5 – Attorney Prepared Documents

All trusts, wills, charitable gift annuities, and all other legal documents are prepared by, or under the supervision of, legal counsel licensed to practice in the applicable jurisdiction in such a manner that the attorney accepts responsibility for the documents. (NADWP S 40 05, S 40 40) [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 6 – Title to Trust Assets

A written opinion has been obtained from legal counsel licensed to practice in the applicable jurisdiction regarding the appropriate method of holding title to trust assets. If legal counsel has indicated that the existence of the trust should be disclosed, such legal counsel has indicated the appropriate method of disclosure such as “Trustee for …” [PGTS]

Standard 7 – HIPAA

An opinion has been obtained from an attorney licensed to practice in the applicable jurisdiction regarding the implications of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and appropriate actions for the organization when serving as a fiduciary, successor fiduciary, attorney-in-fact, and any other related activity. [PGTS]

Managing Gifts

Standard 8 – CGA Rates

Gift annuity rates are in accordance with denominational policy. (NADWP S 40 45) [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Standard 9 – Hazardous Waste Assessment

When real properties are accepted into trust or in other instances where legal title is taken (either in a fiduciary or non-fiduciary capacity) on behalf of the trust or estate on or after January 1, 1993, an investigation is made regarding hazardous waste. The organization’s legal counsel licensed to practice in the applicable jurisdiction shall direct and approve the appropriate level of environmental review. (NADWP S 55 20) [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Standard 10 – Investment Policies

The organization is in compliance with denominational investment policies. (NADWP S 85) [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 11 – Philanthropy Protection Act

All disclosures required under the Philanthropy Protection Act of 1995 are provided to each applicable donor at the time of donation. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 12 – Trust Investment Instructions

All revocable trusts where the organization is serving as trustee are separately invested at the specific written direction of the trustor(s). Written directions from the trustor(s) are obtained for all investments of specifically invested revocable trusts. (NADWP S 40 16) [PGTS]

Standard 13 – Loaning Trust/Estate Assets

No loans of trust/estate assets are made to any denominational entity or fund other than the Union Revolving Fund. (NADWP S 40 55) [PGTS]

Standard 14 – Title of Assets

The fiduciary has appropriate documents of title or ownership for all trust and estate assets. [PGTS]

Standard 15 – Insuring Real Property

All insurable real property held as an irrevocable trust/estate asset is insured. For revocable trusts, all insurable real property assets should be insured unless a signed statement, approved by legal counsel, is obtained from the trustor(s) of a revocable trust indicating that the asset is not to be insured and agreeing to release the trustee from, and to indemnify the trustee for, all liability as a result thereof. (Insurable real property of revocable trust assets should always be insured if the trustor(s) so desire(s), and it is practicable to do so. Insurable real property trust or estate assets include improved or unimproved real property whether the deed is recorded or not. Coverage should include fire and casualty, where applicable.)

In the event legal counsel determines it is impracticable to comply with the above requirements, an alternate procedure may be implemented for revocable trusts, if written approval from the organization’s legal counsel states that the alternate procedure adequately fulfills the trustee’s fiduciary responsibility. This legal opinion shall be updated at least every three years or upon change of legal counsel. [PGTS]

Office Operation

Standard 16 – Gift Acceptance Policy

The organization has a PGTS gift acceptance policy approved by governing board or committee. [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Standard 17 – Returning Original Documents

Written requests are obtained and appropriately verified by a method approved in writing by legal counsel who is authorized to practice in the applicable jurisdiction for the transfer or return of any original legal documents. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 18 – Invalidating Wills

To consider a will no longer valid documentation must be in the file approved by legal counsel who is authorized to practice in the applicable jurisdiction. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 19 – Issuing Receipts

Receipts are issued whenever any cash, non-cash assets, or other documents are received by PGTS personnel. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 20 – Logging Out Documents

Documents held in a fiduciary capacity, and other related materials, are properly logged out when taken from the files. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 21 – Organizing Files

All files held in a fiduciary capacity, including Charitable Gift Annuities, are properly organized and subdivided. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 22 – Removing Original Documents

Original documents are never removed from the office except when an original document is required. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 23 – Storing Files

a. All physical files with current or potential fiduciary duties and all current legal documents are kept in properly secured fire-resistant files/vaults. All other fiduciary files and non-current legal documents are kept in safe and secure files.

b. Electronic files held in a fiduciary capacity and other legal documents are properly backed up and secured per organizational policy approved by the governing board or committee and legal counsel. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 24 – Tickler System

A tickler system is adequately maintained and utilized. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 25 – Checklists

The organization consistently utilizes a checklist for each of the following:

a. Establishing new trusts and charitable gift annuities;

b. Revoking a trust;

c. Closing out a matured trust, estate, and charitable gift annuities; [PGP, PGTS]

Accreditation

Standard 26 – GCAS Report Committee Review

The General Conference Auditing Service Report on Planned Giving and Trust Services Operations is either:
a. Submitted to the Financial Audit Review Committee which sends the report along with the Committee’s response to the governing board, or
b. Submitted directly to the governing board. (NADWP SA 05 25 and 27) [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Standard 27 – GCAS Report Implementation

The report of the General Conference Auditing Service is carefully reviewed and appropriate action is taken to implement the recommendations. [PGO, PGP, PGTS]

Fiduciary Duties

Standard 28 – Tax Reports

Procedures are in effect to assure that all required tax reports are accurately filed on a timely basis and qualified tax counsel is obtained when appropriate. (This includes Federal, provincial, and state tax reports.) [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 29 – Interim Distributions

The governing board or appropriate committee is advised of each interim distribution from a mature trust or estate and is also advised of the final distribution and termination of each matured trust or estate. Such notification is recorded in the minutes of the governing board or appropriate committee. (NADWP S 40 65) [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 30 – Beneficiary Receipts

Signed receipts, releases or acknowledgments are requested and received, when practical, from all beneficiaries of matured trusts or estates. This means that the beneficiary signs a separate receipt or release, or signs an acknowledgment above the beneficiary’s endorsement on the check. Such receipt, release or acknowledgment shall verify that the distribution is “partial” or “full and complete” distribution to the beneficiary in harmony with the trust or will. Any other method shall be approved in writing by the entity’s local legal counsel. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 31 – Death Certificates

When a trustor, testator, annuitant, or beneficiary with a vested interest dies, a copy of the death certificate or other appropriate evidence of death is obtained. [PGP, PGTS]

Standard 32 – Comingling Fiduciary Assets

Assets held in a fiduciary capacity are kept separate from and not commingled with other assets held by the organization in a non-fiduciary capacity. [PGTS]

Standard 33 – TIN

Taxpayer identification numbers have been obtained for all trusts and estates, where required. [PGTS]

Standard 34 – Serving as POA

When a denominational employee/organization is named as attorney-in-fact under a Power of Attorney as a result of his/her employment:

a. The Power of Attorney is approved by the governing board or appropriate committee when the attorney-in-fact has the power to act. (NADWP S 40 80)

b. Significant acts (such as the disposition of major assets) are approved by the governing board or appropriate committee. (NADWP S 40 80)

c. All assets under the active control of the Power of Attorney are accounted for in a trust or estate accounting system with complete documentation which is available to the organization’s officers and auditors at all reasonable times. (NADWP S 40 80) [PGTS]

Standard 35 – Serving as Personal Representative

When a denominational employee/organization is named as Personal Representative/Executor or Conservator as a result of his/her employment:

a. The designation as Personal Representative/Executor or Conservator is approved by the governing board or appropriate committee when the need to serve arises. (NADWP S 40 80)

b. Significant acts (such as the disposition of major assets) are approved by the governing board or appropriate committee. (NADWP S 40 80)

c. All assets under the current control or responsibility of the Personal Representative/Executor or Conservator are accounted for in a trust or estate accounting system with complete documentation that is available to the organization’s officers and auditors at all reasonable times. [PGTS]

Standard 36 – List of POAs

A list is maintained of all Powers of Attorney held by personnel performing any discretionary functions employed by the organization. This list will include present and future responsibilities. This list shall also include the extent of, or limitations on the powers of attorney. [PGTS]

Standard 37 – Reviewing Files

Physical files held in a current fiduciary capacity are reviewed at least every 5 years to verify that the files include all necessary documentation. [PGTS]

Standard 38 – Distributing Trusts and Estates

Assets of matured trusts and estates are distributed and the trusts/estates are terminated within a reasonable period of time. [PGTS]

Trusts

Standard 39 – Accounting Non-cash Assets

All non-cash assets are consistently recorded in the accounting records as follows:

a. All non-cash assets held in irrevocable trusts (e.g. unitrusts, annuity trusts, matured revocable trusts or estates) are consistently recorded in the accounting records at fair market value when the asset is placed in the trust or the estate.

b. All non-cash assets held in revocable trusts (or other grantor trusts) are consistently recorded at trustor’s income tax (cost) basis (a signed statement from the trustor is acceptable for this purpose). [PGTS]

Standard 40 – Annual Reports

Reports to trustor(s) and current beneficiaries are issued at least annually and include both a statement of trust assets and income/activity. At least one report should be a composite report reflecting all assets held in the trust and all income activity for the year. These may be mailed or transmitted electronically in a secure manner. [PGTS]

Standard 41 – Recording Deeds

For all parcels of real property, the files include one of the following:

a. A recorded deed, or

b. A statement, approved by legal counsel, signed by the trustor(s) of a revocable trust, asking the trustee to not record the deed and agreeing to release the trustee from, and to indemnify the trustee for, all liability, if any, as a result thereof, or

c. A written opinion from legal counsel recommending that the specific deed not be recorded and explaining the reason therefore. [PGTS]

Standard 42 – Insurance

Insurance coverage is reviewed periodically (at least every three years) to verify that coverage appears to be adequate. Where coverage does not appear to be adequate, a “Hold Harmless” agreement approved by legal counsel is signed by the trustor(s) of a revocable trust stating that the trustor(s) is/are not relying upon the trustee to determine the adequacy of the insurance coverage and agreeing to release the trustee from, and to indemnify the trustee for, all liability as a result of any inadequacy of insurance coverage. This same procedure is followed when the trustor(s) does/do not wish this periodic review to determine the adequacy of insurance.

In the event legal counsel determines that it is impracticable under the circumstances to comply with the above requirements, an alternate procedure may be used for revocable trusts, if written approval by the entity’s legal counsel states that this procedure adequately fulfills the trustee’s fiduciary responsibility in this regard. This legal opinion shall be updated at least every three years or upon change of legal counsel. [PGTS]

Standard 43 – Additional Insured

In the case of revocable trusts, when it has been determined that the trustor has obtained insurance covering the real property, the trustee is named as an “additional insured” except in the following circumstances:

a. If the deed is to be recorded, evidence is contained in the trust file indicating that contact has been made with the trustor(s) or the insurance company, and that naming the trustee as an “additional insured” is impossible or impractical for the trustor. In this case, a “Hold Harmless” statement approved by legal counsel is signed by the trustor(s) agreeing to release the trustee from and to indemnify the trustee for, all liability as a result.

b. If the deed is not to be recorded (at the written request of the trustor(s)), the trustor shall have the option of choosing not to have the trustee named as an “additional insured.” In this case, a “Hold Harmless” agreement approved by legal counsel is signed by the trustor(s) agreeing to release the trustee from, and to indemnify the trustee for, all liability as a result.

In the event legal counsel determines it is impracticable to comply with the above requirements, an alternative procedure shall be approved in writing by the entity’s legal counsel in regard to (a) or (b) above, stating that this procedure adequately fulfills the trustee’s fiduciary responsibility in this regard. This legal opinion shall be updated at least every three years or upon change of legal counsel. [PGTS]

Standard 44 – Securities Inspection

Securities held in a fiduciary capacity are physically inspected at least annually and the list of physically inspected securities is reconciled to the accounting records. [PGTS]

Standard 45 – Authorizing Trustee

All trusts when the organization is trustee or successor trustee are specifically authorized by the appropriate board or committee. (NADWP S 40 50) [PGTS]

Standard 46 – Substantial Benefit

Trust agreements when the organization is trustee or successor trustee are written only when the denomination will substantially benefit from such agreements, with the nature of the assets, size of the estate, cost of servicing the trust, and other factors being considered in determining the feasibility of entering into such agreements. (NADWP S 40 50) [PGTS]

Standard 47 – Trust Revocations

The governing board or appropriate committee is advised of all revocations of trust agreements. Such action is recorded in the minutes of the governing board or appropriate committee. [PGTS]

Standard 48 – Returning Revoked Trust Assets

Appropriate documentary evidence is obtained whenever assets of revocable trusts are returned to the trustor(s). This means that the beneficiary signs a separate receipt or signs an acknowledgment above the distributee’s endorsement on the check. Such receipt or acknowledgment shall verify that the asset was withdrawn from the trust by the beneficiary in harmony with the trust document. Any other method shall be approved in writing by the entity’s local legal counsel. [PGTS]

Standard 49 – Trust Withdrawals or Revocations

Written requests are obtained and appropriately verified by a method approved in writing by legal counsel who is authorized to practice in the applicable jurisdiction for all withdrawals from or revocations of revocable trusts. [PGTS]

Standard 50 – Trust Summaries

A summary or system (i.e. synopsis) is maintained for each trust which summarizes the pertinent provisions of the trust. [PGTS]

– End of Accreditation Standards –