The Joy of Estate Planning?


For many of us, estate planning is right up there with eating your broccoli and filing your taxes. You know it’s a good thing to do, but not right now – please.

The Missouri United Methodist Foundation has a new program that is changing this stereotype for church groups around our state. It is called “Putting Your House In Order” (PYHIO), and it gets folks talking, sharing, and taking practical steps to get organized and make decisions. “I mostly hear stories, conversations, and laughter during these sessions,” reflects Rev. Laura Murphy, the primary presenter and the Foundation’s Director of Development.   

“As one attendee expressed to me, the program is human-focused – not the dry technical presentation she was expecting!” laughs Murphy. “Folks often come in thinking it is going to be all about paperwork, and it is so gratifying to see them leave thinking about how their life and decisions can continue to bless the people they care about.”

Rev. Chris Abel witnessed it firsthand, “This program is like a breath of fresh air for estate planning. It doesn’t just focus on the financial side of things, but also on the emotional and spiritual aspects that come with it.” 

In 2022, twenty-one churches hosted PYHIO workshops, opening conversations with over 500 people. In addition, the Foundation also offered five sessions of PYHIO specifically for clergy. Those sessions helped 52 clergies start to put their own house in order and understand how that opens the door for them to assist their parishioners more effectively in doing the same.  

“The church is a great place to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy, and the Foundation ensures that every congregation can appropriately administer these gifts,” states Murphy. “My goal is to empower people to have conversations with their families and friends about things that matter most to them. When approached from a human perspective, these conversations are savored and life-changing.”

To schedule a PYHIO workshop for a group of any size, or to set up a time to walk through the PYHIO materials one-on-one, contact Laura Murphy at  or 573-875-4168. 

Additional resources can be found at, including a brochure and flyer that can be customized for your session. In addition, watch for online sessions of the PYHIO workshop a couple of times a year on the events page – and a special PYHIO for pastors will be a part of the 2023 Clergy Resource Roadshow in August.