CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Melinda Kibler has a message for the 77% of Americans who identify as religious: Their faith deserves a seat at the estate planning table.
In an article for Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC, where she works as a senior client service manager, Kibler reviews some of the many ways that religious individuals may want to tailor plans for the end of life and beyond. Some may need to fulfill specific religious requirements. Others may want to transmit a legacy that reflects their faith's importance to them.
"If your religious tradition requires a particular approach to inheritance, end-of-life plans or charitable giving, the tools of estate planning can help you to secure those priorities," Kibler writes. "But even for individuals who don't face particular requirements, estate planning is often about transmitting values as well as wealth."
In her article, Kibler touches on end-of-life concerns including lifesaving measures for individuals unable to express their wishes, organ donation and disposition of remains after death. She also discusses estate planning considerations such as inheritance and naming guardians for minor children. Throughout, Kibler emphasizes that individuals should look for attorneys, tax experts and trustees who fully understand and respect their particular faith-based priorities.
"Whether or not your estate planning team members share your faith, it is important to bring up religious concerns early in the process, or even when selecting them," Kibler says. "Raising the subject will allow you to gauge their knowledge of and comfort level with your priorities."
Many religious people's beliefs shape how they think about death. They should not hesitate to ask the professionals they hire to help them meet their obligations or secure a faith-influenced legacy.
A financial professional with more than a decade of experience, Kibler holds the IRS Enrolled Agent designation as well as the CFP® credential. She has weighed in as an expert on financial topics for major publications including Forbes, Fox Business, The Huffington Post and The Associated Press. In addition to writing regularly for the firm's newsletter, Kibler contributed chapters to Palisades Hudson's two books, "The High Achiever's Guide to Wealth" and "Looking Ahead: Life, Family, Wealth and Business After 55," both of which are available on Amazon.