The vast majority of Americans say religious values and customs are a significant part of their lives. Surveys show that more than 95% of Americans believe in God or some higher being. Even many who profess not to be actively practicing any particular organized religion may still feel an affinity toward, or find comfort and solace in, the faith of their family or youth.

Yet when it comes to estate and financial planning, religious topics are rarely discussed and almost never integrated into planning. The most finely executed rolling GRAT tax strategy may still leave a family fractured beyond repair if religious disputes mar a parent's final days and funeral. If a client's personal beliefs include strong feelings about avoiding certain types of investments or making certain types of expenditures, and these are ignored, how can the investment plan really succeed?

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