Even for a Christian, planning what to do with your estate after you’re gone is not an easy task. It seems that no one likes to make the decisions about what to do with the “stuff” that God has allowed them to accumulate over their lifetime. In fact, in Texas, about two-thirds of the people who pass away each year don’t even have a will.
Why is it so important? What is going to happen to my “stuff” if I don’t have a will? Well, in Texas (or wherever you live) the state has been gracious enough to write one for you. The problem is that the way the state will divide your assets may be very different from the way that you would want them divided. Some family members, close friends and charities that you might have wanted to remember won’t get anything at all.
So, what are some other good reasons for having a will?
- It allows you (and not the state) to decide which family members and friends get a share of your estate. There may be family members that don’t need or want what would be their appropriate share, while there may be friends that have been closer than a brother that you want to remember.
- It allows you to decide who will handle distribute them in accordance with your wishes. If you do not select the person that will fill this important role, some- one that you might not prefer could be appointed instead.
- It allows you to name a guardian for your minor children. For parents, a will allows you to specify who you would like to take care of your children.
- It allows you to consider any special needs that may be present in your family. Perhaps you have a mentally or physically challenged child that will need care after you are gone; a will can create a trust that will provide for that care.
- A will allows you to provide for the financial management of your assets where that may be necessary. If your estate contains a variety of asset types or you want to create a charitable trust, it may take a will to provide for that.
- It allows you to deal with special situations such as divorce and blended families. While families like this can be complicated during life, they can be even more complicated when one of the family passes away. A well-written will can bring some clarity to what may be a tense situation.
- It allows you to leave something to Baptist causes like the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation or your local church. It is a great way to make a difference in God’s kingdom for generations to come.
- It allows you to create a trust that will benefit family members for years to come, help insure that they spend it carefully, and then go on to benefit Texas Baptist causes. It can be a legacy that serves as a periodic reminder to your family of what was important to you.
- It reduces the cost and time that it takes to settle your estate. When the Lord calls you home and you don’t have a current will, the settling of your affairs will be both time-consuming and expensive, leaving less of your assets to pass along to your heirs.
- It allows you to have peace of mind and heart knowing that you have distributed the things that God has allowed you to accumulate in the way that’s pleasing to Him.
One of the most important reasons for having a will is that it is perhaps your final act of stewardship. It represents your acknowledgement that God owns everything, and we are just the caretakers. One of the freedoms the Lord gives us is the privilege of deciding how the “stuff” He has allowed us to accumulate will be distributed.
Nobody knows better what the Lord wants you to do with it than you.
August is Make Your Will month. Contact the staff of the Missions Foundation for more information. visit texasbaptists.org/tbmf or call 214.828.5173