Why would we want to do estate planning? For a start, we may have questions like these:
+ How can I be sure who will care for my children if a tragedy strikes me?
+ How could I best care financially for my aging parents?
+ Is there a way to give a gift to charity and still provide something for my grandchildren?
+ How can I increase my retirement income for the rest of my life and provide a gift to the church at the same time?
There are a lot more questions that we may have at various stages of our lives. Thankfully, there are people with our welfare at heart who can help us find the answers for our unique situations. The best place to connect with these people is the United Methodist Foundation in your Annual Conference.
Estate planning often begins by unlearning what we think is true. For example, I used to think people had to have a “big estate” (read: be really rich) to need estate planning, but that’s not true. It’s also not true that people should wait until they’re middle-aged or elderly to start making their estate plans. Guardianship of young children is a huge issue for parents just starting out, for example. People of all ages can make plans to empower generations beyond their lifetime, whether the beneficiaries are future family members or children who could be touched by the future church.
Planning now for the future can make a lasting impact on many levels. Colleen Crook, a Certified Life and Leadership Coach, says estate planning is the result of “a purposeful life, focused on taking action around your values, passion, mission and vision. It provides a sense of deep meaning, and can be a catalyst for positive, long-term change that continues beyond your lifetime.”
But making an estate plan can help us be more mindful of how we live now, as well. Our greatest inheritance can be the influence of a great example as we give to others, witness to our faith, and care for one another in times of decreased health. In these ways and many more, we can use our possessions to help others beyond our own personal needs.