Estate Planning Ministry FAQ

Disciples as Stewards: We are offering the Estate Planning Ministry because we believe that one of the identities of a disciple is to be a steward. That means managing everything God has entrusted you with in a way that honors him, both in the present and for the future. We are committed to equipping our church to grow as disciple-making disciples that are faithful stewards during every phase of their life.

Member Care: We are committed to caring well for the members of our church. We recognize that when an unexpected tragedy strikes it is a very difficult experience for families, often compounded when they have not planned ahead with an estate plan. We are committed to serving Summit families in those moments and want to help them proactively provide for their families.

What is your plan for the things God has entrusted you with? Sometimes, there is an unclear plan after the loss of a loved one. This can cause unnecessary pain, confusion, bitterness, and broken relationships. On the other hand, when an estate is planned for well in advance, it can bring peace to the family in the midst of their grief.

Surprisingly, there is no catch. The Summit has partnered with Financial Planning Ministry to offer Covenant Members an estate plan for their family at no cost to them. This includes preparing your will, trust, advance healthcare directive, and planning ahead for any guardianship or conservatorship matters.

Financial Planning Ministry is a non-profit ministry that the Summit has financially partnered with so they can generously offer these estate plans to our Covenant Members. While there is no requirement that anyone leaves a gift to either The Summit Church or Financial Planning Ministry, you are welcome to do so if you feel led to.

The Summit believes that it’s so important for our covenant members to plan ahead for their families and be faithful stewards that we have financially partnered with Financial Planning Ministry to provide an estate plan at no charge to our members. Because the church is financially investing in this as a member benefit, we have decided to currently limit this ministry to covenant members.

Whether you’ve been attending the Summit for years or only visited a handful of times, we would love for you to prayerfully consider taking the next step in your faith journey and become a covenant member.

While we would never want someone to become a member only because they want a free estate plan, we believe that every disciple is (1) a worshiper of God, (2) a member of God’s family, (3) a servant to others, (4) a steward of God’s resources, and (5) a witness to the world. Becoming a covenant member is one of the ways you live as a member of God’s family.

If you have not become a member yet, we’d encourage you to sign up for the next Baptism and Membership Class at your campus instead of attending the estate planning seminar at this time.

Fortunately, we offer estate planning seminars at various times throughout the year. You can stay up to date on the next estate planning seminars by signing up for The Stewardship Digest.

Seminar: The Estate Planning Seminar is a 1.5 hour education session where you will: (1) learn why having an estate plan is important, (2) be given a tool you will complete to determine how you want to set up your estate plan (the “Confidential Estate Planning Guide”), and (3) have the opportunity to schedule a follow-up appointment with a consultant from our ministry partner, Financial Planning Ministry, for preparation or update of your estate plan, at no cost to you. You do not need to bring anything specific with you to the seminar.

Follow-up Appointment: Three to four weeks after each estate planning seminar, Financial Planning Ministry will offer a virtual one-on-one appointment or you can meet over the phone with one of their estate consultants. This is an opportunity to discuss the estate plan intentions you’ve recorded in your Confidential Estate Planning Guide and determine if moving forward with an estate plan from Financial Planning Ministry is the right next step for your family, or if you should work with your own attorney or create your own estate planning documents.

Receive Personalized Estate Planning Documents: After completing your follow-up appointment and submitting your Confidential Estate Planning Guide and necessary documents, Financial Planning Ministry will work with their staff team to create your personalized estate planning documents. This process typically takes a couple of months from the time you submit all of your completed paperwork. Financial Planning Ministry will then send back a set of estate planning documents ready for you to sign and have notarized.

Revise at Any Time: We understand that things in your life change. Whether you move, your family expands or contracts, or your intentions change, you might want to modify your estate plan. It’s typically a good idea to review your estate plan every five to ten years to ensure it stays in line with your intentions. To modify your estate plan, you can reach out to Financial Planning Ministry at any time and they would be glad to modify your estate plan at no cost to you.

Life is busy. We understand juggling childcare, work commitments, and a variety of other things in your life can be challenging. Nonetheless, it is our hope that you do both try to attend so you can both learn about the options you have in creating an estate plan. If for some reason that’s not possible, one of you is welcome to attend the seminar and then work together on the Confidential Estate Planning Guide before you both meet with the estate consultant. If for some reason it is not possible for you both to attend the follow-up meeting, you can arrange a telephone/virtual meeting with the estate consultant to discuss your Confidential Estate Planning Guide and next steps.

If you have already attended the estate planning seminar, but were not able to schedule a follow-up appointment, please complete the Confidential Estate Planning Guide and scan any documents that Financial Planning Ministry will need and contact our estate consultant, Sandra Perkins, or call (252) 722-2172. Sandra would be glad to schedule a phone conversation at your convenience.

Financial Planning Ministry has been a trusted name in estate planning and planned giving since 1982. More than 36,000 families and individuals have benefitted from their unique "stewardship through estate planning" ministry. Financial Planning Ministry has over 130 partners like The Summit Church that they work with. As an organization, they host over 350 estate planning seminars per year.

The Summit spent several years reviewing numerous partner organizations that specialize in estate planning solutions for churches like ours, and repeatedly heard incredible things from other well-respected churches that work with Financial Planning Ministry. After various meetings with Financial Planning Ministry, visiting their headquarters and meeting with their staff, we were very excited to begin our partnership with Financial Planning Ministry in 2019.

If we didn’t answer your question above, please take a moment to review these frequently asked questions that Financial Planning Ministry has compiled.

If that still doesn’t answer your question, please feel free to reach out to our Pastor of Stewardship and Generosity, Blair Graham, or call (919) 354-5952.