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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A life reflected

Sharing your faith, values and wealth with a will

In the next 20 years, trillions of dollars will be transferred from one generation to the next — called by financial analysts "history's largest transfer of wealth."

When Joan Kroc, a philanthropist who inherited the McDonald's fast-food fortune, left $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army, she was remembered as one who learned this from her husband, Ray: "I've never seen a Brinks truck following a hearse. You can't take it with you."

Kroc's gift was the largest one-time charitable donation in history, and when announced earlier this year it caused a Salvation Army spokesman to utter: "Excuse me, did you say 'billion'?"

Most of us won't inherit — or pass on to the next generation — the wealth of Joan Kroc, but we, too, would do well to remember Ray Kroc's observation.

Fortunately, the Krocs also knew the adage "Where there's a will, there's a way": a way to control what happens to your wealth — no matter how much or how meager. And a way to make a final statement about what's important to you — your faith and values.

In conversations about passing on all that you have, this question nearly leaps out of the mouths of the experts: Do you have a will?


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