For the past two weeks, I have been explaining the process of Christian Family Legacy planning. Is this different than Estate Planning? Yes, in an incredibly unique way. An Estate Plan is about the method of moving assets to the next generation in an efficient way. A Christian Family Legacy is much more. It involves passing a God-centered legacy to the next generation. That includes:
- Passing a marriage that models the marriage between Christ and the church.
- Passing the message of servant leadership and Christ-centered families to the children.
- Being a Godly Steward of all that God has gifted you. Part of the mantra of a Godly steward is to be shrewd with all that God has given you. As a result, planning to save millions in taxes and giving to the ministries of your choice follows.
The fourth phase of the process is Implementation. It is the final exclamation mark on time invested in the previous four phases (see explanations of the first three phases: 1. Vision, 2. Clarify, and 3. Focus.). It is now that the process of setting in place a means to satisfy all of your objectives takes place.
The Implementation phase is like being the general contractor on a construction project and includes the following.
- Coordination of all the professionals who will be involved in the implementation (construction) of the plan.
- Supervision of their activities to make sure their contribution is accurately completed according to the plan (blueprints).
- Ensure that all the work is done in a timely fashion.
- Keep the implementation progress continually updated on at least a weekly basis.
The following are the “General Contractor” services: (These should be a part of any Christian Family Legacy Planner’s approach to implementing your plan.)
- The first task is to organize and conduct a phone conference meeting with all the advisors that will be involved in the implementation process to discuss all that is required to complete the implementation of the plan. At this meeting, the implementation timeline is created, and the appropriate advisors delegated the specific implementation tasks.
- The general contractor works with your legal counsel to make sure that the needed documents for implementation include all the specific components and language required to accomplish the objectives outlined in the plan design. The general contractor does not give legal counsel, nor draft legal documents or practice law in any way. They simply serve as an information resource to your legal counsel. When needed and/or if desired, relationships with highly skilled attorneys who specialize in these sophisticated areas of advanced planning can co-counsel with your present legal counsel if that is desired or needed. Any legal fees incurred by your current counsel or outside specialists whom you choose to bring in to assist your local counsel will be charged separately by them and are not included in the implementation fee.
- The general contractor works with your accounting professionals to ensure that they understand and file the needed IRS forms required due to the implementation of the plan. These forms may include, but are not limited to such filings as: trust tax returns, gift tax returns, income tax returns, etc. The general contractor also works with them to ensure that you are taking maximum advantage of all the tax deductions and incentives that this plan provides. General contractors are not accountants and do not prepare or file tax forms or practice accounting in any way. They simply serve as an information resource to your accounting counsel. Any accounting fees incurred by your current counsel will be charged separately by them and are not included in the implementation fee.
- If there is a need for a valuation of certain assets, the planning objectives are reviewed with the valuation expert and provide him/her with whatever information we have to enable them to conduct the necessary valuation.
- The general contractor works with the professional advisor of your choice to supervise the smooth and orderly transfer of titles of assets to the new, legal entities that are being created for this plan. Transfers are reviewed to make sure that they are transferred at the proper time based on the plan design and that they are titled properly.
- Concerning needed insurance products, the general contractor works with insurance professionals to make sure that the best contract at the best price is acquired for you.
- The general contractor works with your chosen money manager(s) to make sure that they properly understand the needed investment objectives and requirements for correctly managing the assets within the sophisticated trust entities. If you (1.) do not have a money manager/investment advisor, (2.) do not have a money manager/investment advisor who you are happy with, or (3.) your money manager/investment advisor does not have extensive experience in the delicate and sophisticated asset management objectives needed within these very sophisticated planning tools, the general contractor can help you find a money manager/investment advisor to meet your needs.
- Because of the complex and sophisticated nature of your plan, the need for each piece of the implementation process to be done in a very specific order is critical! The general contractor coordinates the work of all your participating advisors to ensure that their part of the implementation is done in the right sequential order and that each advisor completes his part of the implementation according to the pre-agreed upon timeline.
- Each Friday during the Phase IV Implementation you will get an email update from the general contractor advising you on the progress that has been made in implementation during the week and what implementation steps still need to be completed.
- Once every part of the plan that is to be initially implemented has been completed, the general contractor conducts a final review meeting with you to ensure that you are fully aware of everything that has been done to date in the implementation of your plan.
This phase in the plan may take as much as a year to complete, but every step is necessary and relevant to making your plan exactly what you designed. The fifth phase, Impact, should be started immediately after completing the third phase and in tandem with the Implementation phase. In my next blog, I will explain why and how this phase could be the most important and the one that gives you the most satisfaction of all the phases of the plan.
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.