I would say that between 80% and 90% of Christian estate plans fall far short of what they could be in all categories from how much they save in taxes to how effective they are in passing a legacy that matters. How many of you reading this are in denial because you frankly do not want to go through the whole planning thing again? Or you might believe that your attorney could not have missed anything? Reviewing your objectives in light of a thorough study of your virtues, story and vision for the future is the only answer to discovering whether your plan is fully realized.
If you want to be a great Steward, you must not reconsider your current plan and look deeper on how you can save even more on taxes that allows you to maximize a Godly family legacy that matters.
1. If you consulted an attorney before you created a plan, you would almost certainly miss key components and strategies for saving taxes. If you have NOT reduced your estate taxes and capital gains taxes to “0”, your plan is inadequate. The reason this is significant is that the money from the savings is now available for giving away to the causes that you feel strongest about.
2. If you consulted an attorney and completed your plan before you created a vision statement, you have little probability that your virtues will pass on to future generations. This may appear obscure to you until you go through the process of creating a vision statement. For example, Kardia gives our clients 75 questions to answer and then we spend a day to a day and a half in a retreat to discover the answers to the questions. Believe me; the objectives are far different than before the retreat.
3. If you and your spouse were not both involved in the planning or are on different pages concerning your estate and inheritances and gifting, you estate plan is not complete. So often women are not involved in the planning because they are either intimidated or the husband—who runs the business—is expected to handle it. Ladies, how important is it to you to determine how much and how your estate will be distributed to the children? Do you want a say in how the charitable dollars are given away? Is passing a Christian family legacy important to you?
4. Are all you advisors Christians and have they all cooperated in putting the plan together? Again, this is a key component to a Christian estate plan. Don’t discount the value of all of your advisors being on the same page and understanding a Christian worldview.
5. Have you created a family meeting to communicate the vision for the family that details the plan? No attorney or accountant will know how to do this well. You need to have someone who is trained in helping create a vision and who is trained in conducting family meetings. The health and wellness of the family and your Christian legacy is dependent on it.
I could go into so many other reasons that your estate plan may not be adequate, but suffice to say that creating an incredible, dynamic, impactful family legacy takes time, focus and expertise. Don’t wait until it is too late to complete what you started or to start what you have for so long meant to do. God calls us to be good Stewards. Doesn’t creating an effective Christian estate plan qualify as Stewardship?
Download this free ebook that will help you understand what’s possible once you discover how to become a better steward by eliminating taxes by focusing on Kingdom causes that will enable you to build an enduring family legacy.
By Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring
about significant impact for His Kingdom.