Our consultants visit hundreds of donors each year. Each one's story is unique and special. Here are just a few of the wonderful stories from the road.
When Henny first called us, she was recently widowed and unclear of her financial situation. Her late husband had always taken care of all the details, but now she realized she would have to learn. Fortunately her husband had been a good manager of their financial assets, and so with careful research and some help from a CSS Stewardship Consultant, she gained a clear picture of her financial matters.
During the process, CSS discovered that there were some large gaps in how the financial affairs were arranged. They were retired farmers and one of their children had taken over the family farm. This was arranged in such a way that Dad and Mom would continue to receive an income from the ‘loan’ they had extended to the son who was operating the farm. The other children had gone their separate ways, and although they had been supported by Dad and Mom, the lion’s share of the estate was tied into this loan arrangement. Unfortunately, when Dad and Mom had prepared their Last Will and Testament, Dad had insisted that any loans outstanding to the children would be forgiven before the balance of the estate was to be distributed. This meant that the farming son would receive most of the estate, and his siblings would receive very little in comparison.
Henny immediately recognized that this would cause a significant problem between her children and so with our help began exploring how she could instead resolve this issue. This was achieved by removing the Will clause which forgave the loan, and the son would carry a life insurance policy on his mother’s life to pay off the loan. As Henny gained clarity of her finances she recognized that the wealth they had accumulated through their farming career had only primarily benefited themselves and their one son. Henny decided to provide monetary gifts to her other children enabling her to witness the benefits this provided while she is alive. Henny also set in motion a charitable giving plan. She wrote letters to her favorite charities, and included some significant cheques.
These changes allowed the son to maintain the farm, the other children had an opportunity to enjoy some of her wealth while she is still living and Mom could sleep soundly knowing that she had done her best to provide as even a distribution of their wealth as possible so that there would be minimal risk of family discord when she passes away. Henny realized that her husband had not intentionally set up the estate plan with those results in mind, however allowing a professional to review the whole situation as the CSS Stewardship Consultant had done, was very beneficial. Henny was very grateful to have discovered this oversight and as a result the blessings have been multiplied.
Alice has been supported in her giving to charities by 3 different Stewardship Consultants of Christian Stewardship Services in the last ten years Alice came in Canada in 1958 and was married for many years, but after her husband's passing, Alice began looking seriously at blessing others with their God-given resources since they had no children. Alice had an income stream that more than satisfied her current living expenses at Trillium Village, Strathroy, where she moved with her husband in the year 2000. She had her first visit with a Stewardship Consultant of CSS in the fall of 2005 and purchased her first ($100,000) Revocable Deposit Agreement. This deposit annually supports various Christian School and missions related organizations and any residue will be donated to the same causes upon Alice's passing.
After another RDA deposit in 2007, Alice met with another Stewardship Consultant, Maynard Wiersma (now Executive Director) in the summer of 2008. Maynard reviewed in detail the various gifts Alice was already making and received confirmation from her and the Executor of her will that Alice felt this giving was her opportunity to bless others. Alice made another deposit adding a few more causes to her charitable list.
After making a presentation at Trillium Village in the spring of 2014 our newest Stewardship Consultant, Marinus Koole had the opportunity to meet with Alice and work with her to update her will and estate documents. As they worked through the process, Alice again made use of the RDA program, this time providing annual support to two new causes while providing for any balance in the deposit to be returned to her estate for distribution.
People like Alice are an encouragement to all of us, and a reminder of the blessing we at CSS experience in "Working with folks who in their hearts have already decided to give". Facilitating that and benefitting our partners and other charities is an honor.