In the lives we live, we have the tendency to accumulate important property - some with sentimental meaning - all of which is the product of a job well done.  Many of us have dreams  of our children and grandchildren enjoying the fruit of our hands long after we're gone.  We want special items  to remain in the family, building a heritage and identity for the next generation.  

Would it surprise you then, to learn that an estimated 70% of Americans do not even have a will?  When persons die without a will, distribution of their property can become a costly and complicated matter. 

Planning and providing for loved ones does not have to be confusing or intimidating.  Truly estate planning can be a very uplifting and positive experience, as you have peace of mind knowing that your family's future is secure. 

What is estate planning?     The process of estate planning is simply deciding how, when, and to whom you will transfer the stewardship of what God has given to you when you are no longer able to serve as the steward.

Why is estate planning important?  Estate planning is important because it serves four needs:

  1. Peace - helps you provide for and protect your loved ones.
  2. Provision - helps you pass along God's blessings in the right way, at the right time, and at minimal cost.
  3. Protection - provides for you in your senior years, increasing your lifetime security and achieving your goals.
  4. Spiritual Legacy - acknowledges that planning prepares the next stewards of God's grace and ensures that your plans are rooted in good stewardship.

Specific to church congregation members, part of becoming a "good and faithful servant" is to create a good plan for your family.  This important stewardship of the property that God has entrusted to you protects and provides for your family.  In creating a will and plan, you enhance your loves ones' security and offer peace of mind for all involved.  

Everyone wants to have a life with meaning.  Part of that meaningful life is to live on in the memory of family and friends.  A good estate plan can indeed create a legacy for family and charity that gives added meaning to your life.  

In addition, your estate plan is a wonderful opportunity to also bless others in need with a portion of your lifetime "increase" in property.  Distributions of your estate specific to the church not only benefit the local congregation, but also have regional, national, and international impact.  A church example, The Permanent Fund for The United Methodist Church can be named as beneficiary to members' wills and estate plans in order to access the power of this collective estate giving from portions of other families estate plans to fund various ministries within The United Methodist Church.  If you are interested in distributing a portion of your estate plan to your church or denomination, please consider explore those options now to ensure your wishes within your estate plan are complete.

A detailed estate plan is a wonderful step forward to writing a very good chapter in the book of your life.