Broker Check

Bluffton Location

117 E Elm Street

Bluffton, OH 45817

July 2014 - Asking for My Turn & Why Do I Need An Estate Plan at any Age?


This is Kathi Dunlap, business manager at Faith Investment Services.  I asked Gary’s permission to write the feature letter for this quarter’s newsletter.   Many of you may have already heard about the passing of Gary & Shannon’s son, Andrew, on June 4.  We were deeply saddened by his untimely, unexpected death.  We are, of course, grieving on many levels — Gary and Shannon as parents and the rest of the staff as friends.  

I am in an unusual position right now, as business manager.   It is my main job to advance the mission of Faith Investment Services in as many arenas as possible.   I ‘proclaim’ Biblically Responsible Investing, retirement planning, and wise investing on Gary’s behalf.   I use social media, traditional advertising, emails, this newsletter, and a host of other places to get the word out.  How do I proceed right now, in this period of mourning?  

Please let me address that.   I want to be faithful in my work — but I also want to be sensitive.  You may see emails or facebook posts that seem like we are just ‘going on’, business as usual.   I trust you will understand that some of that is simply ME, keeping the message fresh in people’s minds — doing my job. 

I think Gary has a similar dichotomy that he is working through.  He too wants to be faithful to his clients and diligent in proclaiming the message of Biblically Responsible Investing.   He essentially wants to continue doing the work that God has called him to do.  But, he also needs to grieve well.  He needs to rest.  He needs to ‘get traction’ again. 

I hope you will extend grace to us as we figure out that balance between doing business and grieving.   I also want to assure you that we are completely functional, as an office.   We are servicing clients, returning calls, and making appointments.   Don’t hesitate to call if you have a  need or concern.  Ordinary things like meeting with clients and researching cases actually helps!    As always, I am available behind the scenes if you have a question or concern that I can help with.   My email is    Gary’s is   

Thank you to everyone who has expressed kindness in a multitude of ways.  Gary & Shannon have been profoundly touched, many times, by the right word spoken at the right time.  God’s grace has been poured over them as a result of the prayers of many of you.   It has truly been a blessing to be a part of. 





Faith Investment Services had an educational booth at CHEO June 20-21 in Akron, Ohio.  CHEO is Christian Home Educators of Ohio  (  and this was their annual convention for prospective and veteran home educators.   We shared literature, offered door prizes, and talked to folks about Biblically Responsible Investing.  Our door prize winners were: William of Dublin, OH & Dana of Coshocton, OH (both won a year subscription to ‘Answers’   magazine from Answers in Genesis) and Dawn of Parma, OH and Tabitha of Chester, WV (both won a $25 gas card.) 

* * * * *

While at CHEO, Faith Investment Services was interviewed by Jennifer Beck of WTLW TV (Lima).   Kathi Dunlap spoke about Biblically Responsible Investing and the mission of Faith Investment Services.   The spot aired in late June in the TV-44 viewing area.

* * * * *

Gary Reese will be attending a meeting of the Benefits Board of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Colorado Springs, CO in August.   He serves on this national board that oversees the benefit plans of national and international workers of the C&MA. 

* * * * *

Our insert this month will go into some detail about the ramifications of dying intestate (without a will.)   Portions of this insert were shared at our recent “In Case My Parents Die” workshop in April in Bluffton, Ohio and the information that is featured has been especially pertinent in our office since Andrew’s passing.   If I can be very blunt — please let me remind you that very few people expect to die.  Getting a simple will prepared is not complicated and it could really bless your loved ones in the case of your unexpected death.   This is a message for young and old — please make this a priority, if you do not have a will.



I am old.  I just celebrated by 50th birthday in June (and so did my husband — so he’s old too!)  Of course, old is subjective.   Everyone under 30 is firmly agreeing with me right now  (“You ARE old, Kathi!”) and everyone over 65 is smiling with a sage twinkle in their eye.   Those older than me cannot deny that with age comes some creaking bones and aches, yet they don’t really feel old themselves so I am CERTAINLY not old!

I don’t really feel any older now than I did a month ago, and I’m being facetious when I call myself old.   Now Gary on the other hand….HA!

Gary is hitting a certain landmark age himself and, as a result, he’s begun to look into Social  Security options for himself and Shannon.  Knowing how Social Security works and how it fits into any retirement plan is part of what Gary does as an investment adviser and so he’s coming into this personal phase of life a lot more prepared than many people, to be sure.   However, he has his own earnings record, his own investment  portfolio, and his own longevity to consider.  So now, he’ll do the same research he does with other folks for himself.

One thing I have noticed as I work alongside him on this is that Social Security decisions must be incredibly overwhelming to folks who do not have his background and training.   With so many options about when to file, whether to file and suspend, whether to draw from spousal earnings or your own, and so forth — I’m learning that having someone  knowledgeable to talk things through with is very valuable.  Our Social Security seminar last fall started the process of ‘opening my eyes’ and my awakening hasn’t ended yet. 

Would you benefit from a retirement analysis that takes your Social Security timing and filing decisions into account?  Even if you are 5-7 years away from retirement, it might be helpful to know what your options are.   Whether you are planning to continue working full-time as Gary intends to do, have a full retirement (no part-time work or other endeavors) or have a partial one, there are special nuances to the Social Security guidelines that you probably are not aware of.

Gary believes that a well-rounded retirement plan involves saving, investing, reducing debt, knowing your Social Security options, and having everything backed up with a good estate plan and adequate insurance.  He would be happy to have a no-obligation consultation with you to start that conversation.   He is available for phone conferences or face-to-face meetings.   Please call our office today!

Why do I need an estate plan at any age?


I. Avoiding a Mess - Chooses someone to be in charge if you become mentally incapacitated.  Avoids fights and disputes as to how things will be handled and who is in charge.  Contrary to popular misconception, you don’t have to own a big house or lots of money to have an estate. Your estate consists of everything you own when you die, including your home, personal property, investments, bank accounts, retirement plans and any interests in a family business or partnership. Beneficiary designation forms control who gets your retirement accounts & life insurance proceeds. 

If you die without a will or living trust (“intestate,” in legalese), state law will determine how most of your belongings are distributed, and the result may not be what you would want. These laws establish a ranking of inheritors. First to the spouse, then to children, parents and siblings.

II.  Avoiding Probate - Probate is the court-supervised process of locating and determining the value of the assets owned in the individual name of a deceased person, referred to as a "decedent," paying the decedent's final bills and estate taxes and/or inheritance taxes (if any), and then distributing what's left of the decedent's assets to the heirs.

Ohio has a specific set of laws that will determine the particular probate process to be followed:

  1. Appointing a Personal Representative - Appointing a Personal Representative, also called an Executor or Administrator, to oversee the disposition of the estate;
  2. Locating the decedent's assets - Locating and protecting all of the decedent's assets;
  3. Determining date of death values - Figuring out the date of death values for all of the decedent's assets through account statements and appraisals;
  4. Identifying known creditors - Locating all of the decedent's creditors and then notifying them of the decedent's death;
  5. Paying bills - Paying all of the decedent's final bills;
  6. Filing income tax returns - Filing the decedent's final income tax return and any estate income tax returns if the estate earns any income during the administration;
  7. Determining estate tax liability - Determining if any estate taxes will be due, both at the state and federal levels;
  8. Paying any estate taxes and/or inheritance taxes - If any estate taxes (federal and/or state) or inheritance taxes will be due, raising the cash necessary to pay the taxes and then paying them in a timely manner (usually within nine months of the decedent's date of death); and
  9. Distributing the remaining balance to the beneficiaries - Distributing the balance of what's left of the decedent's assets after all of the bills and taxes have been paid to the beneficiaries named in the decedent's Last Will if the decedent had one, or to the decedent's heirs at law if the decedent didn't have a Last Will. 

III. Protecting Beneficiaries – Having an estate plan keeps the decision of who will raise your minor children in your hands.  It can also protect adult beneficiaries from their own bad decisions or outside influences.


1.       A WILL AND POSSIBLY A LIVING TRUST - A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his property at death.  A trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a settlor, who transfers some or all of his or her property to a trustee. The trustee holds that property for the trust's beneficiaries.

2.       DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR BUSINESS - A power of attorney for business is a written authorization to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter.

3.       DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE - The purpose of a durable power of attorney for health care is to ensure that a person will have decisions made on his behalf, the way he would prefer, when he is not able to make the decisions. This type of power of attorney is not just for end-of-life situations, but any time a person is not able to make important medical decisions because he is incompetent and unable to communicate.

4.       LIVING WILL - A living will is a legal document stipulating your wishes as to how you would want medical professionals to proceed should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation medically of not being able to speak for yourself. This not only takes the burden of difficult decisions off of your loved ones, but assures that your wishes in such a circumstance would be followed.


INFORMATION NEEDED FOR A WILL -  beneficiaries, guardians (if minor children are involved), executor, and any specific gifts planned

WHY WOULD I NEED A LIVING TRUST? A living trust can help you avoid probate, reduce attorney fees, maintain privacy, assist with estate tax planning, and help you maintain control over decisions.



1.       Allows someone else to make business decision on your behalf if you are unable because of mental incapacity.

2.       Avoids have someone declared as mentally incompetent by the court system and the requirement to post bond.  Avoids fight over who should be appointed Guardian.


1.       Lets your wishes be known.

2.       Takes the pressure off the children in making life/death decisions or a disagreement on what should be done.


1.       Checking/Saving Accounts

2.       House/Real Estate

3.       Vehicles/boats/trailers


1.       Total amount of assets allowed before you may apply for Medicaid $1,500.00

2.       Medicaid can recapture the value of assets you have transferred out of your name for 60 months (5 years).  This is anything of value that you have transferred.

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU!  GIFTING – Consider charitable gifting for Church/non-profit organizations