You have been putting it off for years because of being too busy or simply procrastinating.
Over the next several months, I am going to help you.
For some, who have large estates and businesses, I am going to offer you not only advice but questionnaires that can help you prepare the way. It is time to commit, so before you read any further promise yourself that this is the year to make it happen. Do it now!
Now some of you are going to dismiss this message because your plan is complete. Are you sure?
- Have you eliminated all estate and capital gains taxes from your estate, no matter what the size of the estate? (I don’t mean by replacing with life insurance.)
- Have you created a vision statement that includes past, present and future before you set your goals and before you see the attorney or planner for an analysis of your current plan? We will go into detail on what that means and how to create one.
- Have you fully disclosed to your heirs all the details of your plans and everyone understands how the plan works?
- Your heirs are fully prepared spiritually, emotionally, and financially to receive the inheritance that you have determined is appropriate for them? Will it bless them and not curse them?
- All of your advisors were on the same page and both skilled and committed Christians? They all worked together to create the plan?
- You understand that a legacy includes how you pass on your virtues related to your marriage and children in addition to the finances?
- Are your heirs fully prepared to carry on your legacy of giving after you are gone?
I like to use the term Legacy Planning verses Estate Planning because it better describes what God is calling us to. A Legacy is what you pass on after you are gone. I believe there are three components to a God-centered legacy:
God calls our marriages to model the marriage of Jesus and the Church. Jesus so loved us that He died for us. As a church, we are to love him back by obedience.
Do your children have Jesus at their center and do they understand what servant leadership is? (I understand we are all in the process of teaching this to our kids and it is a life-long process.)
A highly efficient Christian estate plan that frees up money for the Kingdom: At minimum, you eliminate all estate and capital gains taxes to go to Kingdom causes. Then work on reducing your income taxes to do the same.
So what are the stages of a God-centered plan?
- Vision: This is a method of Deciding God’s purpose for our family. It involves answering over 75 questions and through a discovery retreat creating a vision statement and a set of goals and objectives that satisfies what you have created in your vision statement. It also involves presenting this vision statement to your children and grandchildren at a family meeting.
- Clarify/Analysis: In this stage you gather and review all of our legal and financial information and see how well the current plan satisfies your objectives. In our experience, only 30% of the objectives are satisfied with the current plan.
- Focus/plan: After you have discovered that your objectives are not the focus of the current plan, you create a plan that does satisfy those objectives and then have another family meeting to present the plan to them and get their feedback.
- Implementation: This is the stage to put the plan into action. All of the provisions of the plan are implemented.
- Impact/giving: In this stage you design how you are going to have a lasting impact for the Kingdom, while building family purpose and a God-centered legacy that models the three parts of a legacy I mentioned above.
In the weeks to come, I will unpack each of these stages and give you tools to create a plan that has impact on what God is calling you to.
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.