Some families make surprising discoveries after a loved one dies. As one blogger recalls, “My mom’s step-grandpa told everyone he was an electrician that was often called to do repair jobs out of town. After he died, the family received a letter from the president of the United States, revealing he was actually a demolitions expert and worked in some sort of special ops bomb squad for the military. Even his wife had no idea.”
But not every revelation is such an admirable one. Some families discover their loved one was hiding an addiction or debt. Many children are stunned to discover they were omitted from their parents’ will – with no chance for an explanation. Not only is this bewildering and hurtful, it’s ultimately the last message a parent sends to their child. These heartaches can be avoided. Here’s where to start:
- Construct a plan. Did you know 60 percent of Americans do not have an estate plan? Creating a will is actually a simple process but the impact is monumental. An up-to-date will can ensure your loved ones are provided for without additional expense and frustration.
- Communicate your heart. Once you’ve created an estate plan, it’s important to explain the decisions you’ve made. Some families experience complicated relationships or situations where receiving an inheritance could actually be detrimental. It’s better to be honest than to leave a lifetime of questions. It can also be a wonderful time to speak from your heart. Share about your personal values, causes or organizations you’ve cared about or chosen to include in your will.
- Collect information. Many people create a “love drawer” or “love file” to gather important information their loved ones will need in the future. This could include legal documents, financial account information, insurance policies, passwords, medical wishes, or personal letters sharing how much they’ve meant to you.
Romans 12:18 is a great reminder of how we should live with others –
and the lengths we should explore to keep peace even after we pass.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
What Happens If I Die Without a Will?
If you do not have a Will, the State actually has one for you. Unfortunately, that means state law would determine (without your input):
• Who will be the next steward of the resources entrusted to you
• Who will care for your young children
• Who will administer your estate
With a Will, you get to decide these things. In addition to making sure your immediate family is provided for in your Will, you can also bless your extended “family” – including your church and favorite charitable organizations.
- Learn more about making a will
- Learn more about Charitable Gift Annuities
- Why use Donor Advised Funds
- Use our Ethical Will worksheet
- IRS benefits of giving
- How You Can Create a More Certain Future
- Trusting God Through the Storms of Life
- 3 Ways to Make Your Life Count Today
- How to Stop Worrying and Find Peace
If you feel moved to help support our program, head over to our Get Involved page to learn how you can make a difference in someone’s life here in Yakima, WA.