The St Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, with cooperation with the Tamaqua Lions Club, Tamaqua Rotary Club, and Tamaqua Salvation Army Bequest and Endowment Committee, hosted a dinner and bequest and endowment seminar to benefit the Tamaqua Salvation Army Tuesday evening at the Tamaqua Elks Lodge.

The dinner consisted of guest speakers who spoke of estate and charitable giving, as well as planned giving and the differences between charitable and normal investment planning. The event was put together by the Tamaqua Salvation Army Bequest and Endowment Committee. Event toastmaster was Tamaqua Lions Club president Steve Bayer.

Speaker Micah Gursky, Director of Development for St Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale, talked about how people can help by using charitable planned and estate giving as a way to maximize the good of their charitable giving while also providing a way of providing a good return via their charitable endowments or investments. He also spoke and showed images about recent St Luke's Hospital developments and patient appreciations.

Speaker Eric M. Mika, Esq., certified elder law attorney, from Pottsville, spoke about many things concerning planned giving, estate, and long term planning, as well as tax and legal information regarding safe planning. Eric stated many useful investment, planning, legal, and tax facts. In 1900, 47-50 percent of people died at home; most of which died of heart attacks and infections. People suffer longer now and require adequate long term care planning.

People with charitable inclinations should have an effective power of attorney and make sure the right language and charitable wishes are in their will and to also avoid complications from privacy laws. The Pennsylvania Intestacy Law dictates who gets your assets when there isn't a legal will. The law states that the first 30K goes to spouse. The remaining balance is then divided in half between the living spouse and children.

He also stated the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is based on the relationship between the beneficiary and the deceased. Spouses and charitable donations result in a inheritance zero percent tax, while children pay 4 percent tax, brother and sister pay 12.5 percent tax, and anyone else pays a 15 percent tax. Mica also pointed out that most charitable gift annuities, to include deferred annuities, give capital or assets to entities, or charities, as well as immediate tax deductions resulting in a fixed income stream return versus variable commercial annuities. Currently, the 2009 Federal Estate tax currently taxes assets totaling less than 3.5 million, has no federal estate tax in 2010, and by 2011, 45 percent of assets above $1 million will be taxed. A lot of times, you don't have to pay taxes or file a return concerning estate donations.

Sharon Somers, Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Divisional Headquarters Planned Giving Representative talked about planned giving with the Salvation Army through retirement plans and bequests.

Floyd Zimmerman, Tamaqua Salvation Army board member and Bequest / Endowment Committee chairman, talked about the many activities and programs the Tamaqua Salvation Army provides to people and communities in Eastern Schuylkill and Western Carbon County. Floyd also explained that the Salvation Army endowment fund has been effectively running since 1941 and will benefit both the community, as well as the charitable investor. Other Tamaqua Salvation Army board members also assisted with this event. For more information on Salvation Army bequests and endowments, please call the Salvation Army at (570) 668-4010 or visit their website at