You have been greatly blessed.  Everything that you have is a gift from God.  You are the caretaker, the steward of those gifts.  You make the decisions what you purchase, what you save and what you give away.  God promises to provide what you need.  You may have wants and desires beyond the needs.

The Israelites wandered in the desert, waiting to enter the Promised Land, for 40 years.  God provided manna and quail each day for them to eat. It may not have been the feast they desired but it certainly took care of their needs.

As you prepare to get the Greatest Gift, eternal life, how will you handle the gifts you have been given.  You still make the decisions.  How much do you wish to pass along to family?  How much do you want to use as a final, estate gift, to the organizations that have been such a huge part of your life?  Did you realize that less than 10% of people include a charitable gift as part of their estate plan? 

How will you equitably divide your estate within the family?  There may be good reasons for not leaving each child the same amount.  One child may have received greater help from you during your lifetime.  Maybe a child has special needs and requires a trust to support them after you are gone.  Do you have a much younger child that may benefit with help to cover extra costs, like education?  Whatever your reason for unequal distribution, it’s your decision to make.

Maybe you wish to leave a significant gift to support your church or other ministries.  Remember it’s your choice!  It’s also your decision whether to discuss your thinking with your children. Some people want to discuss how their estate will be divided to allow for questions and understanding by the children.  It can also serve as an example of generous, thoughtful charitable giving. Others choose to keep their plans private and avoid debate.

No matter how and why you decide to divide your estate, allowing a discussion or writing a letter explaining your decision, allows your family to understand your motivations.  That may reduce the chance of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

Take this important decision to God in prayer.  Discuss it with your spouse and trusted advisors.  There is no wrong answer.  We pray that your decision will be a blessing to your family and to the ministries included in your plan.  Any charitable gifts given to Church Extension Fund are put in the CEF Endowment Fund.  Your gifts are used to bless the ministries of the Michigan District – LCMS through grants and loans to grow the Kingdom.

Bill Burmeister
Church Extension Fund – Michigan District

What’s Equitable?