When that happens—and it is a “when” and not an “if”—you probably want to control how those things are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive, and when they are to receive it. You will, of course, want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
That is estate planning—making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die.
SO HOW DOES A LEGACY PLAN DIFFER FROM AN ESTATE PLAN? AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN LEGACY PLAN DIFFER FROM AN ESTATE PLAN?
Our lives are like an artist’s canvas. On that canvas, we paint every day we live our lives. We are adding something to that canvas every single day of our lives. Eventually, we will leave behind a picture which others will reflect upon and review and the highlights of our lives and the things that have made us who we are and the contributions we have made will remain for others to consider. We call this our legacy. If you were a drunk, you will leave a legacy of drinking and all the misadventures that it caused. If you were a kind and giving person, you left behind meaningful, loving relationships. Everything we do or say is part of that canvas.
Legacy Planning includes the assets that we leave behind and how we distribute them. Estate Planning typically does not include vision statements nor does it include time spent training children to follow your virtues.
What a Christian does when he/she creates a Legacy Plan is to spend time creating a vision statement for their estate. At Kardia LLC, we send the client 75 questions to answer and then spend a day to a day and a half (Discovery Retreat) going over those answers in order to create a Vision Statement and a meaningful list of objectives and goals for the plan. We have found that without this questionnaire, clients satisfy only 1/3 of the objectives created after the Discovery Retreat.
A LEGACY PLAN IS THE ONLY WAY TO PASS ON NOT ONLY YOUR MONEY BUT ALSO YOUR VIRTUES. IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO PASS ON A MODEL OF WHAT A GOD-CENTERED FAMILY IS.
Most attorneys do not spend much time talking about what Christians believe is God’s ownership of all that we have. As a result, they treat assets to children as an entitlement, rather than a blessing from God. In a Legacy Plan, money takes a back seat to virtues and values. Money and assets became a tool to further God’s Kingdom on earth.
Jim Elliot the young missionary said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” Never did he realize that when he wrote that he would pay the ultimate price at age 29. His legacy had little to do with money but was a life well lived. He left a Legacy that to this day is talked about. What will your legacy be? Or do you want to simply create an Estate Plan? I have written a book on this called, The Master’s Plan. Below you can download the first chapter.
Next week we will discuss inheritolatry. If you want to know what that means, read my blog next week.
Download The Master’s Plan!
This is a book about transforming your family legacy – both today and in generations to come. It is for Christian families who want to eliminate estate and capital gains taxes, maintain their current lifestyle, pass on an appropriate inheritance to their heirs, maximize giving to worthy ministries, create healthier family relationships and leave a lasting legacy to impact God’s kingdom.