It is estimated that over 120,000,000 Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan to protect themselves and their families, making estate planning one of the most overlooked areas of personal financial management?


With advance planning, issues such as guardianship of children, managing bill paying and assets in the event of sickness or disability, care of a special needs child, long-term care needs, and distribution of retirement assets can all be handled with sensitivity and care, a reasonable cost.


Many people mistakenly believe that since they aren’t “rich” they do not need to do any financial and estate planning.  Estate planning is not just for the wealthy and is important for everyone. This attitude can be financially harmful in the long-run and can be avoided with proactive action.


You can use estate planning to pass on your values to your children and grandchildren.  Through preambles to your will that include a statement of faith, advanced directives that plan your funeral and ease your children in their time of grief, and gifts and bequests to you church and ministries you care about, you can witness to your faith and provide living testimonials about what is important to you.


Congress has designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  What a great time to answer the call to good stewardship by writing or reviewing your will, checking your beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and insurance policies, or including specific bequests in your planning.


The Southeastern Iowa Synod and Lutheran Services in Iowa are working together to encourage congregations in Iowa to include prayerful consideration of long-term stewardship through planning and giving that furthers our values and God’s work.


For more information and resources on estate planning and planned giving, visit


Article written by Joe Nolte, Advancement Officer-Planned Giving and Major Gifts Lutheran Services in Iowa

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