The other day, I was listening to David Crowder’s version of “Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven, but Nobody Wants to Die!” If you haven’t heard the song…well it sums up how many people feel. They don’t want to talk about death so they avoid planning for after they leave this earth. Legacy planning is a huge area where so many people miss the mark.
What is a legacy?
A Legacy is defined as:
1. Money or property bequeathed to another by will.
2. Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past: a legacy of religious freedom.
Heritage is another area that we need to look at:
1. Property that is or can be inherited; an inheritance.
2. Something that is passed down from preceding generations; a tradition.
3. The status acquired by a person through birth; a birthright: a heritage of affluence and social position
Legacy planning is one of the most critical aspects of the money management area. As Christians, we have a unique need for planning our legacies. However, most Christians have not prepared even the basic documents needed, never mind the fun and creative things one can do. It is estimated that nearly 7 out of every 10 adults do not even have a will. End of life planning is an area that most Christians find confusing, time consuming, and fearful. Many people do not want to think about their demise. Unfortunately, procrastination often leads to a financial train wreck left for their beneficiaries.
Everyone has a limited number of days here on earth. There is a beginning and an end to our life. God knows the exact day and time of your demise. The reality is that every one of us will die someday and we cannot bring earthly riches with us.
In the area of legacy planning, it is critical to understand that it is a process that should begin now. Its goals should be to honor God and advance His kingdom. Since we cannot take it with us, we should begin to plan our legacy for our beneficiaries. You never know when the end may come and you can’t change it once you’re gone.
After realty sets in we all know that we will die someday, we cannot take “things” with us, and we will most likely not know the exact date of our death. This means planning beforehand is critical and cannot be delayed. The confusing part of the planning is dealing with the consequences of passing assets. Some of the most common difficulties include:
1. What are the best ways to transfer assets while alive and at death?
2. How do I deal with sibling rivalry?
3. How do I create a business succession plan?
4. How do I pass wisdom?
5. How will I pass my values?
6. How do I navigate the legal and tax consequences?
7. Should I leave money to my church, a ministry, charity, and my family? What percentages?
Have you spent time thinking through these areas? Do you have a legacy plan? Are you set up properly in the event of your demise? Do you have enough life insurance? Do you have wills, trusts, and proper planning documents? All these questions can be answered to your satisfaction, when you seek a component advisor – preferably one who shares your faith and values. If I can help point you in the right direction, as always, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.