An estate plan is one of the greatest acts of stewardship a Christian can make in their lifetime. An estate plan is a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond what a will can do. It includes a will and other key documents, including a health care power of attorney, a durable power of attorney, and end-of-life directives (or a living will). Despite its significance, many Christians find themselves without one.
As stewards of God’s gifts, planning our estates becomes a testament to our acknowledgment that we are not the owners but caretakers of the resources given to us. In a world where material possessions often take precedence, an estate plan becomes a sacred guide, allowing you to distribute your belongings in a manner that resonates with your beliefs and values.
7 Reasons Why You Need an Estate Plan
Many people believe estate planning is only necessary for those older or of wealth, but this is not the case. Every adult should take time to carefully craft even the most basic plan for their possessions and assets. In this article, we will explore why establishing an estate plan is important and how it can foster growth in your financial stewardship.
Reason 1: Pass Your Possessions to Loved Ones
When you die, who will take possession of your belongings? When you hear the words ‘estate plan’ or ‘will,’ this benefit probably comes to mind. An estate plan will allow you to divide everything you own and distribute your property to the individuals you want named. This section of the estate plan is a reminder that, in reality, we ultimately own nothing, and everything in our possession has been entrusted to us by God.
Reason 2: Specify Your Healthcare Wishes
Beyond material possessions, an estate plan includes directives for your healthcare. By specifying your healthcare wishes, you ensure that decisions will align with what you want in the event of an emergency that has left you incapacitated and unable to communicate. Who do you want to decide on medical treatments like ventilators, feeding tubes, or other forms of life support on your behalf? Specifying your healthcare wishes is an extension of responsible stewardship, demonstrating care and oversight for your overall well-being.
Reason 3: Appoint a Guardian for Your Children
For parents, an estate plan is a tool used to safeguard the well-being of children under the age of 18. It includes provisions for their care, ensuring they are protected and provided for in the event of your passing. Without a plan with clear instructions, the state will decide who cares for your children. In your estate plan, appoint a trusted guardian who you trust and who aligns with shared values to care for your children.
Reason 4: Prevent Potential Family Conflict
Harmony within a family is paramount. Unfortunately, conflict within a family is common when discussing how to distribute a loved one’s possessions. A well-structured estate plan acts as a peacemaker, preventing potential clashes over assets and property.
Reason 5: Avoid Probate
What is probate? Probate is a legal process for settling an individual’s estate plan following their passing. It can be a lengthy and complicated process. Avoiding it through a thoughtfully crafted estate plan not only reduces administrative burdens but also ensures a smoother transition of assets.
Reason 6: Minimize Taxes and Fees
Responsible financial stewardship involves minimizing unnecessary burdens when possible. These burdens can include attorney fees, taxes, and other additional costs. Careful estate planning can significantly reduce taxes and fees, enabling the allocation of more resources toward meaningful purposes, whether it be supporting family or making charitable contributions.
Reason 7: Impact the Ministries and Causes You Care About
Lastly, an estate plan empowers you to make a lasting impact on the ministries and causes dear to your heart. By including charitable donations, you can leave a legacy that promotes human flourishing and advances the gospel to the nations.
In conclusion, an estate plan is not merely a legal document; it’s a reflection of your stewardship. Embrace the opportunity to pass on your possessions and make a meaningful impact on the world around you through a thoughtful, mission-driven estate plan.
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