Peace of mind is a rare possession. The Apostle Paul encouraged the church in Philippi with these words. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:6-8 ESV)
In his commentary on Philippians, Dr. Frank Stagg writes about this passage, “Anxiety is destructive not creative. It is faithless, fruitless, and evil. Its antidote is the thanksgiving out of which one lives in openness to God, grateful for life and all its provisions and open to what more God has to give” (Stagg, 213).
These are good words when taking on the responsibility of developing an estate plan. For some, the estate planning process can be a very anxious experience. Having a proper will and other estate plans in place can be one of the most satisfying accomplishments in a person’s life. With the assistance of an attorney or estate-planning professional, your estate stewardship planning can communicate clearly, concisely and with little confusion. Most importantly, it can bring you peace of mind in your responsibilities as a faithful Christian steward.
What should you know about estate planning and its benefits?
• An estate plan is important regardless of one’s net worth.
• An estate plan includes a will.
• You don’t have to be wealthy to create and benefit from a trust.
• Communicating your estate plans with loved ones may avoid any interruptions or problems later.
• Your generosity can leave a legacy for Kingdom purposes.
For some, the anxiety of estate planning comes in not knowing where to get help or how to navigate the complexities of doing it. Here are some effective steps to consider.
1) Talk with an attorney or advisor to guide you through the estate planning process.
2) What people do you wish to benefit from your estate?
3) How do you want your property distributed among them?
4) Whom do you want to appoint as guardian for minor children or family with special needs?
5) Choose a trusted and competent executor or personal representative to handle the settlement of your estate.
6) Have a valid will prepared.
7) Keep your estate plans up-to-date. Most people after making estate plans file it with their attorney or put it somewhere and forget about it. Time changes all (e.g. people in your life, assets you own, the places you live and laws). It is important to review your plans to make sure they accomplish what you wish.
8) Consider the possibility of incapacity in your life. A Durable Power of Attorney gives someone you trust the ability to take care of personal business matters should you become incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care gives someone you trust the ability to make decisions for your health care should you not be able to do so on your own.
9) Review beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, retirement plans and bank accounts.
10) After providing for loved ones remember those Kingdom purposes like your church and ministries you care about and want to support.
Missouri Baptist Foundation has the expertise and time to assist you in Christian estate stewardship planning. Discover the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have made plans that accomplish your wishes for the future and honors the Lord.