If you are like me, every time you hear someone talk about a will, you revert to a nondescript scene in which all of the deceased loved ones are in a stuffy room as some attorney looks at a important looking document with his glasses hanging on the tip of his nose. As he begins to read, we quickly realize that, somehow, everyone in the room is surprised to hear that they were left nothing. The stereotype also continues to show that, presumably, the elderly deceased male, has left all of his fortune to his 24 year old blond, 2nd wife. Are you with me? Is that what you see? This example brings a few topics to be discussed. Everyone needs a will, not just the rich and nothing should be a surprise.
Why do you need a will? Well, if you don’t have anyone that you love, care about or will care if you die, then I guess you don’t. For everyone else, there are a few reasons you need one. If you have anything of value at all, when you pass without a plan, someone has the opportunity to get hurt or not get something they feel they have the right too. This can create undue family drama, simply because you didn’t take the time to get your affairs in order. This is preventable!
Children are a blessing. Let them know how much of a blessing they were even after you are gone. If they are minors, the best way to do this is to decide before you pass, what you would like to happen to them upon your passing. As a father myself, I know how hard this is to think about when you are healthy and thriving. What made the decision easier for me, was the thought of Karrington being left without a Mommy and Daddy and then her life being in limbo on top of her grief. If anything happens to us, I want her to be in the loving embrace of a family member and a stable home as quickly as possible. The last thing she needs on top of her grief is an unsettled living arrangement. I want Tasha and I to be able to make the decision, not a cold, conveyer belt-like courtroom.
Lastly, I believe it is important to have a will to sort out your affairs the way you see fit. It is important to put together a will when you are healthy and viable so that you can converse with those that are or aren’t in the will and explain what your plans are. If a child has been written out of the will because they are leading a lifestyle that you don’t agree with, tell them. Explain to them that they have a chance to be added back to the will. If they are an adult, you have one more opportunity to ‘parent’ them. You will not be seen as a nag or as unfair because you will have been forthright and open with them. By explaining this too them, while you are alive, you can also give them a plan of action of how to get back in your good graces. You can show the love and grace of the Lord, and reiterate that everyone deserves a second chance. What an amazing ministry opportunity for you to your child.
A will should have no surprises. When you die, there should be no surprises. I want my last act of love to my family to be a well prepared estate when I pass. I want it to be easy for them to handle my final time on this planet. When the funeral is all said and done, I want them to easily transition into the rest of their lives, rather than sorting through months and months of paperwork and legal battles to get what is rightfully theirs. That is how I will choose to love my successors. I challenge you to do the same!