Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Foundation estate planning workshop gets high marks from dozens of participants

the Inland Register

(From the April 7, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

Faithful to its renewed commitment to provide long-term financial planning information to parishes throughout the Diocese of Spokane, the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington sponsored an Estate Planning Workshop at Spokane’s Assumption Parish on March 11. The effort was conducted in the context of the Foundation’s 30th anniversary, which it marked last January.

Titled “Let’s Face It,” the workshop was organized by Steve Kocharhook, executive director of the Catholic Foundation, and Father Michael Savelesky, pastor of Assumption Parish. Both made presentations to nearly 50 participants.

Other volunteer presenters included attorney William Buckhold from the firm Randall & Danskin, and Aileen Fields, representative of Spokane Catholic Cemeteries.

Father Savelesky opened the workshop with a brief outline of the Christian approach to death and dying. “It’s no secret that death is a part of life. We Christians need not fear; we are promised Eternal Life,” he said. “Yet we can ease the anxiety and confusion that can arise at that time of our lives by doing all we can to prepare ourselves and prepare others. There are decisions we can make now before ‘our time’ comes.”

Buckhold outlined the major concerns that should be addressed in estate planning and explored a variety of approaches. He pointed out several pitfalls which could catch the uninitiated. He also championed the value of having prepared ahead of time documentation such as Power of Attorney and a Living Will.

Kocharhook reviewed a gamut of financial instruments available through the Catholic Foundation for individuals to include their parish, various ministries of the Diocese, or their favorite Catholic cause in their long-term financial planning.

“If we could turn the clock back 50 years and engage from scratch in estate planning and the use of endowments to provide lasting financial stability for our parishes, we all would be in a much stronger financial position today,” Father Savelesky said. “It’s not a matter of neglect or irresponsibility. But we can learn from the missed opportunities in our history. Now is a favorable time to engage in that kind of long-term planning we wish we had addressed in previous years.”

An explanation of the Church’s approach to the Catholic celebration of funeral vigils and the Mass of Christian Burial was followed by a brief presentation on the history and availability of three Catholic cemeteries in the Diocese of Spokane: Holy Cross (North Spokane), St. Joseph (Trentwood) and Queen of Peace (adjacent to Immaculate Heart Retreat Center).

According to Kocharhook, in coming months the Catholic Foundation plans to conduct similar seminars in other parts of the diocese. All are without charge and open to the public.

“Our positive experience at Assumption Parish is a reminder of how deeply people love the Church and want to foster its mission in their parishes and in our diocese,” he told participants. “Estate planning is a time-tried, time-proven and effective means of doing just that in a lasting way. The Catholic Foundation is here to help in any way it can.”

Participants gave the workshop high marks. Said one participant, “The session was, in my opinion, a definite plus, and I recommend that it be repeated, not only for us old fogies, but for the ‘younger set’ as well.”

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