We all avoid tasks which seem unpleasant to us. The more difficulty the task involves, the less likely we are to do it. This is likely the reason most Americans don’t have a will or an estate plan. According to a recent survey, only 1 out of 3 Americans have an end-of-life document prepared.
So, why do we avoid taking the necessary steps to prepare a will?
- We think we don’t need it. We think estate planning is for high net worth individuals. Many ministry leaders may have some cash, retirement investments, and real estate. The fact is, without a will, it complicates the decisions regarding the distribution of assets after you pass away. If you have any assets, you need a will.
- We don’t want to talk about it. In order to prepare an end-of-life document, you have to talk about topics most people avoid. If you’re married, most people don’t want to carve time out of their schedule for a discussion with their spouse or relatives about the undeniable reality that they will be separated by death one day. But there’s a more positive way of approaching the conversation: you don’t want your passing to create more burdens than necessary.
- We don’t know how to do it. There’s a layer of mystery for most of us when it comes to preparing a legal document. Don’t you need an attorney to prepare a will? It sounds expensive and the process is wholly unfamiliar. Our ignorance creates resistance. We give up rather than press forward through the process.
Here are three reasons why every ministry leader should prepare a will:
It is biblically wise.
The Bible encourages wise planning and preparation for the future where it is within our ability. God is sovereign over the future, and in his providential ordering, he has placed us in a country where the laws permit us to determine how we want our assets distributed upon our death.
Joseph stored up grain for the future because God told him of a certain event in the future: famine (Genesis 41). Similarly, God tells us we can be certain that “it is appointed for man to die” (Hebrews 9:27). Like Joseph, since God tells us about our future, we can make practical preparations for it. Even Isaiah told King Hezekiah, “Set your house in order, for you shall die” (2 Kings 20:1).
For Christians, there are certainly more important considerations than a will when it comes to eternal matters. Yet, it is a practical consideration.
It is a gift to your family.
Practically speaking, if you die without documented instructions pertaining to your assets, the state takes control and decides how they should be distributed. The law favors surviving spouses and relatives. The legal process is referred to as probate. According to the American Bar Association, probate can take six to nine months.
You can ease the practical burdens family members will face after you pass away by having a will in place. This will make it clear who should receive your assets and even custody of children. You can also designate a certain amount or percentage to be distributed to your church or favorite ministry.
It is simple to do.
Preparing legal documents for end-of-life decisions isn’t as complicated as you may think. If you are enrolled in Geneva’s standard or enhanced life insurance benefit through MetLife, you have complimentary access to free will preparation services. At no additional cost, you can access an attorney to assist you.
Simply contact a Client Service Representative through the MetLife’s Legal Plans department at 1.800.821.6400. Provide them with Geneva Benefit Group’s customer number (109944) and the policy holder’s information and they will assist you in finding an in-network attorney.
For those who aren’t eligible for this benefit, you can consider using an online service like freewill.com. In less than 20 minutes, they can help you prepare a will for free. Services like this remove the obstacles and excuses that often stand in the way of this important task.
As ministry leaders, our lives are often plagued by the tyranny of the urgent. Yet, one of the wisest and best things we can do for those who love us, is to take the time and practically prepare for the moment when we are ushered into eternity with Christ.
Geneva Benefits Group serves those who serve others, providing practical support for the financial, physical, and mental wellbeing of people who work in full-time ministry.