The Believer and Financial Planning: Good Stewardship in Light of Our Mortality

“If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house … ” (1 Timothy 5:8). Each child of God reflects on the time he prepared for eternity. Recognizing our personal and urgent need, by faith we received the Lord Jesus Christ as our substitute and Savior. Happy Day! The preparation of our souls’ destiny was once for all settled by reason of the blood of Christ. However another preparation remains in light of our mortality. In this short article we want to encourage Christians to make a will. This does not take away from what should be our daily desire, “Perhaps today He will come.”

In Proverbs 13:22 we read “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children.” We have a responsibility to consider our family’s needs if we should we be taken home before the Lord comes. A century ago, life was less complex; the laws of government were simpler and less intrusive; needs were less and assets were less. Today, the greater complexities of laws and living dictate the advisability of a will.

What is a will? It is a legal document indicating how you want your possessions to be distributed. Who should have a will? It is important for both young and old, for those with a small estate, or with a sizeable estate. What is an estate? An estate is simply a legal term indicating everything that you own. When you do not have a will, the government may then make decisions for the distribution of your estate. Good stewardship will plan to fulfill in death what has been our consistent purpose in life.

For a good number of us, a simple will is all that is needed. The cost of a simple will is not great. You can address some basic thoughts before making a will. Discuss with your spouse or loved ones how you would like to see your estate administered. Choose an executor and an alternate. Most often the executor is your spouse. Request agreement from anyone that you intend to assist you in this way, if necessary. You will not need to list all your possessions apart from any special items you choose to list. A general list of assets will assist a lawyer who will often provide a form to be completed to organize your intent. Find a lawyer and feel free to inquire about the estimated cost for writing the will before you proceed. Review with the lawyer ways to reduce inheritance tax for your beneficiaries.

Parents with young children should consider naming guardians and alternates to raise their children in the event of the death of both parents. This may or may not be grandparents. Consider the home in which they will be raised. Will it simulate your own spiritual exercise? Get agreement from the proposed guardians and alternates before naming them. You should also consider establishing a trust to assist in the care and upbringing of minor children until they reach adulthood. When you have completed the will, secure the original copy in a safe place and inform the executor of its location. Keep it updated, especially as changes occur over time.

If your estate is sizeable you may want to designate a portion to be used for the Lord’swork. Consider setting up a charitable trust. This lowers the total value of your estate for determining tax. It can result in an immediate favorable tax deduction and can provide income while you live. If you want to designate a portion of your estate for the Lord’s work, but not create a trust, name a registered fund, such as Truth and Tidings Gospel Trust, and provide your executor a detailed distribution list. By naming a registered fund, this amount is removed from the taxable portion of the estate. Simply naming individual servants of the Lord, without naming a registered fund, does not exempt the amount from estate tax. These are treated as gifts to individuals.

Consider writing a Medical Directive known also as a living will. This instrument will dictate your health care in the event you are incapacitated. It will clearly state the extent of life sustaining measurers you desire to have administered should you become unconscious or unable to communicate. Talk with your family as to your intentions.

Regardless of your age or assets, if you have not prepared a qualified will, do so now. To delay can result in costly loss for your loved ones. A will is consistent with the teaching of Scripture. Joseph gave instructions regarding his bones. David made provision and gave instructions regarding the building of the temple. The Lord, at the cross, secured the continuing practical care of Mary by delegating it to the apostle John. Your financial stewardship includes a responsibility toward your spouse, children, parents, and the furtherance of the work of the Lord.

Do not leave it for the government to designate or to unduly tax. “Through wisdom is a house builded: and by understanding is it established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Proverbs 24:3-4).