Tending the Vine
Everence is a financial services company based on the idea that it is possible to incorporate your faith and values with you decisions about money. We do this to follow the biblical instruction to be good stewards.
I am the vine; you are the branches.
- John 15:5
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No matter how large or how small your estate, a will should be one of your first acts of stewardship. It is your chance to care for those you love: your family, your friends and your church.
Who needs a will?
Every adult should have a will. If you
die without a will, the laws of your
state will determine how your assets
are distributed. That might not be in
accordance with your wishes and sometimes creates extra expenses and taxes.
An act of Christian stewardship
You may designate someone to
represent you after your death. These representatives can include:
• an executor or personal representative who works with your attorney to settle your estate.
• a guardian nominated to care for
minor or dependent children.
• a trustee, such as Everence Trust
Company, who manages the assets
of any trust your will may establish.
How to write a will
Writing a will is a task for a trained
professional. Mennonite Foundation
recommends consulting an attorney
who can express your wishes in proper legal language. Most attorneys will write a simple will for a reasonable fee. For large estates, it may help to include a Certified Public Accountant as part of your estate planning team.
You should choose alternates for each of the people named above in case the first person named cannot serve.
It may also be helpful to consult a
Mennonite Foundation representative before seeing an attorney or accountant. We can help you with your estate planning objectives with a Christian
perspective in mind.
Here are some examples:
• If a spouse with young children survives, the entire estate should generally go to the surviving spouse.
• If both parents die and minor children survive, only the children should benefit from the estate, in most cases.
• You determine how your assets will be handled, not state laws.
• You, not a judge, select people
to care for your minor children.
• Plan for a business or farm to
remain in the family.
• Provide for special family needs.
• Extend your Christian stewardship
values beyond your lifetime.
• When your youngest child becomes
independent, you may wish to
designate a larger portion of your
estate to charity.
• Special provisions should be made
for handicapped children.
Your survivors may benefit through the establishment of a testamentary trust. A trust is an excellent way to provide for minor children if both parents die. It can also be used to save death taxes in larger estates, to provide for handicapped or spendthrift children, or to manage assets left to a surviving spouse.
Another common provision in most
wills is for a “common disaster” in
which both parents or an entire family dies. If parents die leaving minor children, the estate is generally left to the children, often in the form of a testamentary trust which can be administered by Everence Trust Company. You may wish to designate a portion or all of your estate to charity if the entire family dies.
How to provide for loved ones
The economic needs of your survivors
is a primary concern when writing a
will, and these needs change over time. Mennonite Foundation recommends that need be a major consideration in deciding how your estate should be distributed.
What to consider
While there is no legal document called
a “Christian will,” there are certain
things that distinguish a Christian’s will.
Here are some.
• Use the opportunity to witness to
your Christian faith. You might use
an opening paragraph to express
your relationship to God.
• Include statements indicating that
writing a will is more than a routine
• Make fair, sensible and adequate
provisions for loved ones in keeping
with their needs and the size of your
• Record your wishes on such matters
as who should receive specific family
heirlooms and keepsakes.
• Don’t forget the church. A convenient
way to leave assets to charity is
through Mennonite Foundation. You
make a single bequest through your
will, then we distribute the funds
to the approved charities you have
recommended on a charitable gift
distribution form, which we provide.
When to review your will
A will should not be a static document.
It should change as your situation in life
changes. Here are some suggestions on
when you should review your will.
• Every three to four years.
• If your marital status changes.
• If you have children.
• When your children become
• If you move from one state to another.
• If a significant financial change occurs.
• When tax laws change.
• If you want to change an executor,
trustee or guardian.
• If you want to change the charities you choose to support.
For more information, contact
your Mennonite Foundation
representative. You can also call
us toll free at (800) 348-7468.
We’ll show you how a will can
become an expression of your
To Contact Everence
Christian Fellowship Church
Naubinway & Rexton Campus:
Kelly Roth 906-477-6123
To Contact Everence
1110 N. Main St.
P.O. Box 483
Goshen, IN 46527