As I said in my previous post, an Estate Plan is better named a Legacy Plan, because it is about more than how you plan your finances for your death. It is more than how much and the method in which you distribute it to your heirs. Focusing on just the finances is like turning to the east when it is time for that beautiful sunset on the west. You miss the most important aspect of your Legacy!
There are five phases to a Legacy Plan:
In this post, I am going to discuss the Vision Phase.
The Vision Phase is the foundation for the entire plan because it gets to the soul of your family. We like to call it the “holy of holies.” In it, you dig deep into your unique past and the details of your family dynamics as well as your vision for your family’s future. In a very real sense, you create a story of your life and cast the vision for the “rest of the story.” This step also serves as a method of formally blessing each other (if married) as well as the children.
Some may call this the soft side of planning because it doesn’t deal with hard facts about taxes and trusts etc. This is probably the most unique feature of Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning Process. If you are interested in building a legacy of meaningful family dynamics and deep roots of Godly virtues for your family, the Vision Phase of our process is a necessary and key component to planning.
Each couple is sent the Purposeful Legacy Questionnaire™, one for each spouse. The Purposeful Legacy Questionnaire™ consists of 75 questions addressing every area of a family’s life. It helps you discover and experience each other in a unique way. It is a method of going deeper with your values and virtues within a context of your past experiences and the people that have been influential to you. The Questionnaire has three sections:
- What is the story that defines who you are now?
- What is important in your life today?
- How can we build a vision for your future?
When you are finished filling out the questionnaire, a retreat is scheduled for a day to day-and-a-half Discovery Retreat. At the retreat, all the questions and answers are reviewed. We will listen and then pursue some of your answers with probing questions to help you explain and clarify your answers and dig deeper into the questions.
From that information The Family Legacy Vision Statement™ is created. The reason for the vision statement is to share the information with your children in the first of two guided Family Meetings in the first year. Your homework before the first family meeting is to create a blessing for each other and each of your children. We also encourage you to share what Servant Leadership means to you. Each of these tasks is accompanied by templates and coaching.
The Family Meeting is a catalyst to building the type of God-centered legacy that most Christians only dream about. In it, we review the Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning Process. That presentation is followed with parents sharing the vision statement with the children. Then mom and dad face each other and share the blessing they wrote for each other. Just before lunch we ask mom and dad to share with the family how they perceive they have been servant leaders. While the children are digesting the wonderful story of your life, blessings and servant leadership that you have shared with them, we break for lunch. After lunch, mom and dad lift up each child through a blessing. Each child is giving a framed copy of their blessing as well as symbols of the blessings. Our hope is that the rest of the day is spent enjoying each other. All of the above is explained in detail in my book, The Master’s Plan (coming soon!).
The Vision Phase is probably the most important phase in the process because it creates a meaningful foundation for the rest of the plan and begins a journey of family unity, discovery, and shared virtues. Without this phase, it would be like taking a long journey without an itinerary or purpose. With it, you can provide a clear picture of what your family stands for and where you want your family to go both in the near term and after you have relocated to eternity.
Ken Tada said in the book Joni and Ken, “Not one of us gets out of this life alive.” What do you want your children to remember and live? Does it start with money and possessions or Jesus Christ? I do not think we could daily embrace our cross without first embracing the cross of Christ.”
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.