Who We Are

Joe Franz, President & CEO

Joe Franz employs his more than 35 years of business experience toward building long-term, trusted client relationships. Frustrated by how corporations treat their employees, clients and others, focusing on profits instead of people, Joe founded Legacy Estate Partners (LEP) after working for years in corporate America. His goal is to provide Middle Americans with a company that shares their values, and one that can help protect and preserve their wealth and assets for them and their families.

“We spend a lot of time on our first visit understanding our clients’ unique situation, goals and needs, both short term and long term,” says Joe. “We don’t create any plans until we have a clear and complete understanding of what the clients want — it is important for all of us to be on the same page and work together to accomplish their plans, needs and meet their goals.”

The top concerns for retirees are running out of money in retirement, as well as significant increases in both health care costs and chronic care expenses, all of which need to be addressed in their plans. This is why income planning is so paramount for retirees today. It is critical to help them to protect and preserve what they have worked so hard to accumulate, especially given future longevity risks of a 25-30-year retirement and beyond.

LEP also makes sure their clients have the correct legal documents in place for their unique family circumstances and to help to reduce or alleviate the concern of family conflict. “We utilize very competent estate planning and elder law attorneys to ensure our clients have or get the correct legal documents in place regarding their unique family situation,” says Joe, “we don’t subscribe to the ‘cookie cutter’ approach. We believe successful planning is achieved when all of our pillars are equally balanced. A combination of our process, our extensive work experience, and the diverse backgrounds of our team members and strategic partners, allow us to create quality retirement and estate plans. These plans will always be in our clients’ best interest, first and foremost, not ours, and ones that I use myself.”

Joe has also built LEP around six core values that his father and grandfather instilled in him from an early age: Honesty, Integrity, Trust, Ethics, Respect and Faith. As a Christian, Joe is passionate about ensuring he upholds these core values and the Golden Rule in his personal and professional life every day.

“I am a faith-based individual,” Joe says. “I tell people I have the best job in the world because I get to be a disciple of the Lord by serving others and putting them in a better place in life.

When not helping clients with their retirement and estate plans, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, Julie, and their two beautiful daughters. One of his daughters is autistic, and Joe refers to her as his little angel and says she blesses him, his family and others every day and helps them appreciate the little things in life. Joe also stays active with church, charities, outdoor activities, and helping others on a daily basis.

Derek Wilkerson, Vice President

As Vice President of Legacy Estate Partners, Derek has consulted over 1,000 families across Iowa. This has given him special perspective into the crucial decisions Iowans need to make to successfully retire, live happy and healthy retirement years, and transition that success to the next generation. Derek is a multi-generation Iowan and is very proud to be able to raise his family here and make a career helping Iowan’s achieve the goals they’ve set for their own families. He loves traveling to all corners of the state, working with both rural and urban clientele, and appreciates the diversity and unique perspective it adds to his work.

Derek prides himself in navigating complex retirement issues while building holistic plans that are easily understood and implemented. Through effective communication, his clients can truly retire happy, knowing they’ve taken all the necessary steps and have a partner looking out for their best interests along the way. Derek strives to educate throughout the process and believes the day you stop learning is the day you start losing. He sees himself primarily as a facilitator for the retirement dreams and goals of his clients and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Derek lives in Urbandale with his wife Jennifer and son, Davis. In his free time, Derek enjoys the outdoors, working on conservation projects, golfing, attending sporting events and spending valuable time with his family.

Emily Mutchler, Operations Manager

Emily graduated from Iowa State University in 2009 with a degree in marketing, and she has worked in operations management in the financial industry since 2010.

As the Operations Manager for Legacy Estate Partners, Emily is responsible for all back-office support for the team, including seminar planning and appointment scheduling. In the words of Joe Franz, “Emily is the glue that holds the organization together, and a vital contributor to our team’s overall success.”

Emily has always been dedicated to providing 100-percent superior customer service. “It’s important to me that I try to answer client questions and get them whatever they need,” says Emily, “because I want to make sure that people are comfortable with us and feel that we are taking good care of them. I want them to trust us to know that we’ll do what’s right for them, and that we’ll always be there for them.”

Outside of work, Emily enjoys traveling, attending sporting events and spending time with her husband and two daughters (Haley and Aubrey), as well as family and friends.