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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Heart of the giver

A different approach for estate planning

It happened again. We just received word of another bequest — this time from a humble gentleman who included Columbia Lutheran Home, Seattle, in his will along with his congregation. Now both St. John's and our nursing home will benefit from his thoughtful act.

But this particular bequest struck me in a different way. When the attorney told me how the will had been drafted with so many charities in mind, I was reminded of a favorite Martin Luther quote: "The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious." This man didn't have many assets, but he had a large heart indeed.

I wish our congregations would make more of an effort to talk about "heart" when discussing estate planning.

Certainly it's important to be concerned about endowment committees, charitable gift annuities and remainder trusts, but we need to remember that most of us are moved more by our heart than by any changes to the tax code. Heart does come into planning our estates too.


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