Estate Planning

What is Estate Planning?

The term sometimes conjures images of limousines, ivy-laden mansions and off-shore tax shelters—not what I do.

Let me give you my practical definition of estate planning that isn’t either from the mystique of the images evoked by the word, nor is it from the law books.

To me, estate planning is thoughtfully and responsibly getting things in order to protect your family and to make their lives easier if you should have a serious accident or illness and in preparation for the time of your death.

There is no dollar amount of investments that you need to reach before you should do estate planning. There is no age that you need to reach before you need to worry about this—at least one of these things can and will happen to all of us.

For most people, their estate planning is as straightforward as:

  • Legally appointing the appropriate person(s) to be able to handle your financial/business matters if you are unable to do so
  • Selecting health care decision-makers who are authorized to speak for you in medical situations if you cannot
  • Setting up a Will or other legal document or plan to pass on whatever assets they have according to their desires
  • Properly coordinating life insurance, retirement accounts and other accounts that have beneficiaries designated with their other estate planning
  • Considering any special situations, like minor children or grandchildren, disabled individuals, special wishes, charitable desires, arrangements for pets, etc.
  • Making sure each of these steps are done in a way to make things as easy, fast, least expensive and most appropriate for your loved ones.

God is the creator and owner of all things, but we are to be good stewards of what God has entrusted to us to care for in this life, whether it is a lot or a little. If we are good and faithful stewards in this life, then we will be entrusted with more, now or in our eternal life.

We are also responsible for caring for our family and those who depend on us, as well as being called upon to be charitable.

I humbly submit the personal belief that considering appropriate estate planning is a part of good stewardship.

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