Legacy planning, also known as estate planning, means deciding today how your resources will be stewarded, both today and after you are gone. Chris Fleck, Director of Legacy Planning at NCU, points out that on average, three in four adults in the U.S. do not have a will or trust, leaving “a mess” in a time of transition for families, and this may expose their assets to probate, attorney’s fees, and taxes. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Jeff Litfin ’92, a member of North Central’s team of trusted professional “referral partners” recently assisted Nancy Zugschwert, ’19 M.A., and her husband, Jim, with the process of reviewing, updating, and establishing their living legacy and charitable bequest by creating a living trust.
“As we were raising our children, we always wanted to take care of this,” Nancy said, “but we always got stuck because we didn’t know exactly what we needed or how to find the right people to help us. We had put together a few simple wills via an online website but never felt confident we were properly protected.”
The tragic loss of two close friends to cancer made the Zugschwerts realize that estate planning needs to be in place for events you may not get to plan in advance. They were pleased to discover at a “lunch and learn” session, sponsored by NCU, that the Legacy Planning team had done the footwork to find carefully selected partners who could provide the knowledge and tools they needed.
“We now have properly prepared legal documents that will make things so much easier for our family when we’re gone,” Nancy said. “I learned through this process that your family will have details to sort through whether the ‘inheritance’ is small or big. Getting things together through legacy planning simply allows us to make decisions so they don’t have to—and now our plan supports our family and the organizations that matter to us. The investment of time and money now has given us peace of mind.”
Fleck noted, “Completing a will or trust with specialists from NCU’s referral partner teams allows Christians who steward God’s assets to be able to be fair to family, while making their mark supporting their church, missionaries, Christian higher education, or other areas they care about most.”
The Zugschwerts decided to share information about their living trust with their children so that whenever the time comes, they know what to do. “Good planning doesn’t need to be a secret or a mystery,” Nancy said, “it just needs to be done. My hope is that by sharing our story, others may be encouraged and experience the same peace of mind that our family now has.”