Wills, Trusts, and Other Tools

Ralph’s family was, on the surface at least, cordial to one another – some would even say loving, caring and kind. Until…

Until Ralph died and during his estate settlement, the old adage of “everything changes when there’s money on the table,” proved true. Ralph’s children disagreed on how his estate should be distributed – disagreements turned into disappointment and bitterness. For years after his passing, Ralph’s family remained estranged from one another.

Is family discord absolutely unavoidable when settling a deceased family member’s estate? No, but as Christian stewards, our first task is to determine God’s plan of stewardship for our estate. God’s word contains principles that give us guidance, and by following them, we can recognize and address potential areas of family conflict.

Start with Biblical Principles

Principle #1: God is the owner of all — not just one-tenth or “the small portion we return back” to Him in the weekly offering. The Scripture is plain that God created this earth and all that it contains (Psalm 24:1-2) and as the creator and sustainer—He is also the owner (Psalm 50:10-12). In the New Testament we read that we have been “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and that the price was the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:17-19).

Principle #2: Since we cannot be owners — our role is that of manager, caretaker, trustee, and steward. God willingly places His assets into our care expecting that we will seek His best interest (Matthew 5:16) through the prudent use of our time (Ephesians 5:15-17), our abilities (Romans 12:1-8), and our financial resources (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Principle #3: Our blessings are intended to be shared — both during this lifetime and at the time of our death (2 Corinthians 8 & 9; Galatians 6:3 & 9-10; Ephesians 4:28). Planned giving and estate design help us maximize the use of God’s resources to benefit ourselves and others during lifetime and our personal beneficiaries and beloved ministries at the time of death. They can also help us pay fewer dollars in taxes, instead directing those dollars to our church and favorite ministries.

4 Steps to Estate Planning Stewardship Success

  1. Setting Priorities – Following Biblical principles
  2. Learning Planning Strategies & Tools – Legal Documents (wills, trusts, powers of attorney), Charitable Tax-planning, Planned Giving Resources
  3. Gathering Necessary Data – The people and property of your plan
  4. Working with Professionals – The team that will help prepare and implement a quality plan

May we help you review or create an estate plan that can meet your needs, provide for your family and favorite ministries — and honor the principles God has given in His word? Discuss Creative Giving Options With Us.