The Importance of Christian Estate Planning
By Rev. Bill Gruenewald, President-Treasurer
An estate plan is an essential preparation everyone must have. But what does it mean to create one rooted in your faith? There are many benefits to Christian estate planning, but I believe there are three foundational reasons why every believer should spend the time to diligently create an estate plan that will benefit both the loved ones they leave behind and the Kingdom.
- Everyone has assets that must be distributed at death
- It is an act of biblical stewardship
- It is a way for Christians to leave a legacy after they’re gone
1. Christian Estate Planning Starts With A Distribution of Assets
No matter your economic level, when you leave this life, the assets you have accumulated must be distributed somewhere. You might’ve heard the saying, “I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul!” That is the reality. We do not take the material things of this life with us to Heaven.
That being said, we all need to make provisions to pass along the possessions we have. While one might think they do not have very much, once you start listing all your assets on a sheet of paper, most will soon realize they have more than they thought. There are some assets that will be distributed based on the titling of the asset or beneficiary designation, like real estate, life insurance, and retirement accounts.
An Estate Plan Starts with a Last Will and Testament
Beyond the aforementioned assets, a Last Will and Testament is the best and most common way to distribute the majority of your possessions. If you die without a Will, the State of Tennessee will determine how your assets will be given away. So, it behooves all of us to have our own plan in place.
If you’d like to learn more about Last Will and Testaments, how they work, and how to make one, click here to read our article on the subject.
Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan!Tennessee Baptist Foundation
2. A Faith-based Estate Plan is an Act of Stewardship
The Bible contains over 2,000 verses related to money and stewardship. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines stewardship as: Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.
One of the key words in this definition is managing. That is what the word stewardship means. We are the managers of the resources God has given us. Every believer in Christ must understand the principle that God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (KJV) A good manager will make provisions for things that are under his care. That does not stop at death. To be a faithful manager we must make plans to pass along the assets under our care so that they can be used to help others and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all must be faithful stewards of our resources!
3. An Estate Plan Leaves a Legacy of Faithfulness
What do you want to be remembered for? I think it is intrinsic in all of us to leave some legacy to our family and friends. One of the great opportunities we have as Christians is to leave something from our estate that will take the gospel to the next generation. The Tennessee Baptist Foundation is available to help any Tennessee Baptist learn how they can take care of their family and bless the next generation with a faith-based estate plan. Psalm 145:4 states, “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.” (KJV) What greater way to help the next generation than leaving resources for them to proclaim the cause of Christ?
It’s your faith and your legacy! Give us a call. Let us help you leave that legacy.
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Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.