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John '63 and Pat Krueger (by John Krueger)

John '63 and Pat Krueger (by John Krueger)

When Pat and I drew up our first will in the early 1970s, our main concern was care for our three children if we died. It was my sister, Naomi, and her family who were named as the custodial parents if we were no longer living.

When we moved to Wichita, Kans., in 1991, one of the first things we did was draw up a new will. Our children were all adults, on their own, so concern for their care was no longer the issue. We thought we needed a new will to testify to what was important for us and how our resources would be used.

We decided to write our will in "shares," since we had no idea what our total assets would be. We said that one half of whatever the total amount will be would be divided equally among our three children and their families. Rebekkah, Andrew, and Matthew will receive 1/6 of something yet to be determined.

The other half will be divided equally among four church institutions that are important to us. One fourth will go to Lakeland College, our alma mater from which both Pat and I graduated. One fourth will go to United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities from which I graduated in 1963. One fourth will go to Peace United Church of Christ in Fort Wayne, Ind.; while we were there for 16 years, we talked and prayed ourselves into three building programs, so this seems only fair. The other fourth will go to the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ where I served for 12 years. This would mean that each of the four will receive 1/8 of the total assets.

Pat and I are pleased with the decisions that shape this will. We often have said that the only thing we "owe" our children is a college education, and they each have that. Anything else they receive from us is pure gift, and they are very comfortable with our decision. We also feel indebted to the church institutions that have nurtured us and helped us shape our lives. We make annual gifts to both our children and these institutions, and we see our will as expressing our love for both family and the church.

We have no idea the size of the assets we will leave, and I doubt anyone knows that for sure. We think it is important to talk about "shares" of some whole since we do not know what the whole will be. We believe our will reflects the values that have enriched our lives, the people and places that have been important for us.

The greatest transfer of wealth this world has ever seen is taking place right now. The legacy we leave will be shared by our immediate family and our larger church institution family. We encourage those reading this to re-examine their personal wills and perhaps rewrite them in ways that reflect their life journeys and personal values. We trust the "maturing" of our will is many years in the future, for we look forward to enjoying the blessing of this life.

United deeply appreciates John and Pat's thoughtful support.


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