Three Important Questions to Ask About Your Estate Plan

Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.  1 Chronicles 29:14

As a Christian with a heart for the Lord, we know you have a desire to be a wise steward, to support your family or loved ones, and to be generous toward God and ministries that proclaim Christ.

One important area of wise stewardship is your estate plan. Whether you have a lot or a little, it is important to think about what will happen with your resources in the future.

Did you know that everyone has an estate plan? In the past year, people have been creating or updating their wills and trusts in record numbers. But maybe, like many, you have simply not taken formal steps toward planning yet. Did you know that even without a will or a trust you still have an estate plan? What do I mean by that? Read on to learn more, as I unpack three important questions to ask about your estate plan.

Three Questions
to Ask About Your Estate Plan:

1. Are my plans written down in a will or a trust?

If you have not created a will or a trust, then your “plan” is to have the state where you live distribute your assets for you. This will take more time, and it may be done in ways that don’t reflect your values or priorities. This can also cause stress for your heirs and loved ones. It makes me think of a friend who had a saying: “When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago, and today.” If you still haven’t created a will or trust, I encourage you to make that one of your goals for the coming months. I’m happy to talk through the first steps with you if that would be helpful! Click here to email me, or call (314) 488-0256.

2. Do my plans reflect my deepest values?

Many Christians believe that those priorities which matter most to them in their lives should be reflected in the allocation of their wealth when they go to be with the Lord. From blessing family and friends to making impactful gifts to ministries they love—many believers find great joy in giving generously when they no longer have need of their resources and may be able to make the biggest gift ever. In this way, your final gift can also be a wonderful testimony to others and a witness to our generous Lord. Once you make charitable plans in your will or trust, it is helpful from time to time to review which ministries are included. Sometimes organizations and relationships change in a way that causes people to revise their plans.

3. Is my plan harmonized?

If you are like most people, your assets are held in various places. For many of us, our home, retirement funds, and life insurance policies may hold most of our wealth. Many of our assets will be distributed according to a simple beneficiary designation form that we completed when we set up the account. It is important to harmonize the intentions made in these forms with your overall plan in relation to a will or a trust. Since beneficiary designation forms take precedence over a will or a trust, in some cases there is very little in the estate after the beneficiary designations have been made. For this reason, it is important to coordinate your plans. You may want to consult your financial advisor, insurance agent, and attorney and to discuss the overall plan with a trusted advisor to make sure your desires will be realized in the future.

Has this article prompted any questions?

If so, I would be happy to serve you in any way that I can and would love to talk or email anytime! As a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy, I love helping God’s people think about how they can live and give generously. Of course, you will also want to talk through your plans with your own financial and legal counsel.

Kevin VandenBrink, Planned Giving Director for Langham Partnership, is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) and a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners. He is passionate about helping people like you who care about the global church and long to be wise stewards. He also brings to the Langham team many years of engagement in theological education, pastoral ministry, and global missions.

Kevin would love to hear your story, celebrate what the Lord is doing through Langham, and visit with you about the options and benefits of including Langham in your planned giving. Please click here to send an email to Kevin, or call him at (314) 488-0256.