May 19, 2014

In the past twenty five years of serving in the Church as a Christian estate planning  counselor, I have learned that there are many different “matters of the heart” for each individual Christian. God in His wisdom has created each person as a uniquely wonderful and different human being. In the area of estate planning I have learned that it is important for me to ask many questions to learn what are the “matters of the heart” for each individual as they plan their estate. It is important for married couples to understand the differences they each may have in the goals for their estate plan. Let me share with you some of the goals that I ask people about when I help them plan their estate.

Would you like to leave a written statement of your faith to witness your faith to your loved ones at the time of your death?

Tell me about your parents. What are the main values that you learned from them? What values are you trying to pass on to your children?

What assets has God given you to manage for Him? (We review an itemized asset sheet at this point.) Tell me some of your goals for passing on these assets to your family if you were to die now.

If you have minor children, who would you like to name as guardians for them? At what age would you like them to receive their inheritance?

Tell me how your grown children manage their money? Will they be able to manage their inheritance if it is given in a lump sum?

Tell me about your plans to pass down your farmland to the next generation. Do you want your children to own your farmland together? What kind of plans have you made for a child who is farming with you?

Tell me about your favorite ministries. Why do you support each of them? Would you like to continue your support of them after you die with a gift from your estate?

What asset from your estate would be the best for your gift to your favorite ministries? Do you want to consider a gift from your tax deferred accounts (IRA, 401K, annuities, etc.) because the charities don’t pay income tax?

Would you like to designate your gift to one or all of the ministries? Should we leave a letter of direction to the ministry for the use of your gift?

Do you want to leave your family some directions for your funeral? Would you like to make a written plan for this?

There are many other questions that may be included in the above conversations. Please contact me (; 515.490.7371) to find out more. Lutherans For Life is committed to helping you with your “Matters of the Heart.”