Christian Estate Planning
There are over 2,000 verses in the Bible that deal with money, giving, and stewardship. In fact, roughly 40% of Jesus’ parables deal with the subject of money! Clearly, God cares deeply about this area of our lives. At BFI, we believe three principles guide all that we do as Christ Followers…
God Owns All We Manage (Psalm 24:1-2)
God Holds us to Account for How we manage all under our authority. (Matthew 25:14-30)
God wants us to use His resources for excellence in all three uses of money – caring for our needs, caring for those that depend on us, and advancing the Kingdom of God. (Proverbs 3:9)
BFI provides numerous ways to maximize your impact both while here “on the planet” and in your Christian Estate Plan.
David and Stephanie Grove (FBC Fairview Heights) discuss key questions and elements of their “stewardship walk” while working through BFI’s Life Stewardship Program.
Donor Advised Fund
A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) allows for the receipt of any gift (cash, property, stock, etc.), receiving a full tax deduction, and then reserving the right to “advise” the Foundation which organization(s) to support. You advise as to the timing as well as the amount. Since funds are usually held within our Cash Management account, you may advise about even the distribution of earnings within the fund. Donor-Advised Funds are ideal for anyone wanting to spread out the timing of gifts, have a ready pool of giving funds with which to respond to unforeseen charitable needs or are interested in donating an appreciated asset such as stock or real property.
Family Charitable Endowments
Although Family Charitable Endowments usually receive the bulk of their funding after death, many start them now, naming the organizations they wish to support and in what ratios while they’re living. An FCE can be started with as little as $100 and once it reaches $5,000, support the organizations you have indicated each quarter in perpetuity without ever depleting the corpus. The FCE is designed to offer a means for Christian Legacy while greatly impact financial impact over time.
Donors may name any charitable organization in their FCE, excepting an organization not consistent with Christian values or the Foundation’s own support (in order that BFI can continue to maintain objectivity). Currently, BFI supports dozens of organizations and educational scholarships through the family endowments established by Illinois Baptists.
Christian Estate Planning
What we do in our estate plan, is actually our largest act of stewardship. In fact, in America, we tend to collect things (IRAs, real estate, life insurance, etc.) from which we seldom give. It’s only in our estate plan that all these “assets” get pulled together, representing an incredible opportunity to be a blessing both to our heirs and to Kingdom causes. It’s been estimated that approximately 91% of our wealth is in these less accessible assets.
Beth & Nate Adams on Christian Estate Planning
Getting started thinking about your legacy and how you want to benefit both “kids and Kingdom” really is the most difficult part. BFI has prepared a simple, easy-to-use tool that we believe will help you with this process. Our “Life Stewardship Navigator” is free and will help you begin the first steps of “putting it all together.”
If you have your own attorney, complete the Life Stewardship Navigator and have your attorney contact BFI for coordination with the “giving” part of your plan.
If you don’t have an attorney, BFI provides complimentary Christian Estate Planning services regardless of estate size. In short, if you’re willing to be responsive to God’s call upon your life in this area, we’re willing to help, confidentially and free of charge. Call or email and schedule an appointment.
Life Stewardship Emphasis for Churches
The vast majority of BFI’s Christian Estate Planning work starts in the church — where Gospel-centered conversations often begin. A Life Stewardship Emphasis Sunday has three parts: the preaching, the Life Stewardship Seminar, and the follow-up consultation.
Baptist Foundation’s Life Stewardship Emphasis is spiritual teaching about God’s ownership of our lives and His expectations for our management. Matthew 25:14-30 is the anchor for this sermon and three areas are emphasized:
God owns it all.
There is coming a time when the Master will return and ask us what we did with His resources.
He (the Master) cares passionately about how we steward His stuff!
Life Stewardship Seminar
The Life Stewardship Seminar is a one-hour seminar that highlights the spiritual foundation behind Christian Stewardship and some great tools for stewardship during life and in estate planning. The seminar also identifies the four key elements every estate plan should have, including wills or trusts, powers of attorney (health care and finance), and the appropriate titling of assets and beneficiary clauses.
For those desiring to establish a Christian Estate Plan, Baptist Foundation provides consultation that results in estate planning documents that are confidential and without charge. For many, the realization that their estate represents the largest single act of stewardship of their lives motivates them to put a plan in place that provides for Kingdom Work while taking care of family members and minimizing taxation.