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117 E Elm Street
“When they woke up on Saturday, December 20, neither Officer Rafael Ramos nor Officer Wenjian Liu knew it was their last morning on earth. They were murdered as they sat in their squad car. Their killer had been targeting cops. Evidently Officer Ramos was a believer in Christ. Ramos, who just turned 40, was due to graduate from the NYPD’s chaplain training program the day after he was killed. He left behind a wife and two sons.”
The senseless murder of a young, godly man reminds us that evil is real and that our world is in its grip because of sin. People yield to evil and make terrible choices, often resulting in harm and even death to others. Yet, God is very aware and not taken by surprise, even though He does not condone sinful actions.
Officer Ramos went to be with Jesus, but I do not believe Christ said, ‘What are you doing here? You’re way too early. I had such plans for you!’ I think it is far more likely he heard, ‘Welcome home, Rafael. We knew you were coming. Enter into the joy of your master.’
So is any life cut short? From our point of view, yes. Of course. Heart-wrenching scenarios abound: great leaders who were assassinated, babies who never took their first breath, children claimed by war or disease, young people whose potential never materialized because they were derailed by drugs. But this is a good reminder that we do not know for sure when our earthly life will cease. We all know of and may have experienced seeing lives ending “early” but how can we measure the length of our own lives in comparison? We really cannot with much certainty! That is why at Faith Investment Services, we help folks plan for contingencies in their lives, both good and not so good.
We see the whole gamut of life situations regularly in our practice. Our firm’s focus is helping people plan for different stages in life from starting a family to end-of-life issues, with a specialty in retirement income planning. Our firm is also all about helping folks maneuver the spiritual aspects of life as well. These are serious issues and we count it an honor to be a help to people.
We will focus on three tools of that planning process in this newsletter:
Estate Planning is a topic that everyone can benefit from – and is brought more clearly into focus when we realize that we don’t know the number of our days. The questionnaire we use gathers helpful information prior to our first appointment, making that conversation more fruitful for everyone. A donor advised fund is a selective tool used for specific and unique benefits for clients in high tax situations.
Please enjoy the rest of the newsletter and let us know if we can be a help in your life circumstances.
Excerpts of story from https://admiringchrist.blogspot.com/2015/01/a-life-cut-short.html
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“Estate and gift planning is the process of developing appropriate strategies to accumulate, preserve, manage, and transfer assets over one’s lifetime, disability, and upon death. This is based upon your current personal values and objectives using appropriate legal documents, titling of assets and beneficiary selections to implement them.” - Financial Awareness Foundation
Stirred up interest
We recently sent out an email regarding the importance of estate planning and the email definitely “hit a nerve.” 12% of those who read that email responded, asking us to send them a free estate planning booklet we have prepared.
The gist of the email was that it is too late to do estate planning when you are dead. While this seems obvious, it is painfully clear that many Americans operate as though they will always have time to “do it later.” However, God calls a fool those who do not plan ahead: “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own all the things you have prepared?’”
Because life is full of urgent things—things that shout for our attention and seem like they are deserving of all 24 hours of our day, — it would be our pleasure to walk alongside you and help you put important things into focus regarding your legacy and your possessions.
You may want to “end well” and transfer your assets in meaningful ways, but not know how to accomplish it. When a postcard comes in the mail, inviting you to a free dinner to learn about trusts, you might end up thinking that a trust is the best or only way to protect your assets and accomplish a successful transfer when you die. But you might end up being sold a one-size-fits-all solution to what is actually a very personal and individual situation. There is a better way!
You don’t need a special ‘product’ or any special skills or talents to put together and manage your estate plan. Anyone with basic organization skills, a desire to get their house in order, and a little coaching can do it. The best coach will provide education to help you understand the pitfalls and “danger zones” of wealth transfer and will also offer guidance on what steps to take. We take this role seriously and are happy to help our clients and their families get their estate-planning house in order.
Contact us today to get started—whether you are currently our client or not, we can help!
We call it “the Q”
If you’ve talked to us about having an appointment, you may have heard about our questionnaire. We call it “the Q”! The personal information questionnaire is designed to gather basic information in one place, which is usually very helpful both for you and for us. If you want to move forward with a conversation, we send you “the Q” and you complete what you can (it’s not necessary to have everything.) We can send a link to it on our website or mail a paper copy.
Once we receive it, we look it over and get a “big picture” glace at your situation. This helps the initial conversation to be much more productive. We would be glad to set an appointment with you then whenever it is convenient.
There is no cost or obligation for these initial conversations. It is our intention to give you time and opportunity to ask questions you might have, talk about your future plans, and so forth. Then, if and when we are able to help you, we would discuss any costs associated with that help at that time.
CHECKLIST TO START THE CONVERSATION:
Which of these arrangements do you have in place at this point?
These are not all necessary for everyone. Certain features are helpful in certain situations. We can help!
Donor Advised Funds (DAFs)
A donor advised fund (DAF) is a way for individuals with high incomes to give charitably, manage their overall tax strategy, and make planned gifts. You may think:
I’m not a high-income earner!
The truth is—while it is possible to have consistently high earnings that put you in a higher than desired tax bracket, it is also true that many individuals and couples have occasional years where they ‘slip into’ a higher than desired tax bracket because of one-time events: a bonus at work, a great farming year, excessive gains taxed as ordinary income, etc. If you are charitable at heart and have a significant tax burden, we should talk about the possible use of a donor advised fund.
A DAF works like this:
“Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.”