Happy New Year! What Are You Waiting For?
Happy New Year and happy new decade! So, you have probably heard this all before, but how are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? If you are like most people, and the statistics support this, you have sadly probably already broken your resolutions and we are only into the second week of the New Year! Personally, I don’t put much into resolutions, not to discourage anyone, but I always try to focus on setting a direction in my life and being consistent. Each day is a new opportunity to focus your efforts and thoughts in a positive direction and make sensible decisions.
However, since we are in the New Year, the one question that I always seem to get in the first couple of months is, “When should I take care of my estate plan?” My answer to this question is somewhat facetious, but it is also serious and it is: “Your estate will be fine, as long as you take care of everything the day before you die.”
Now, I am not trying to make light of a very serious question, but it is the truth. We are all only on this earth for a limited time and only God knows when he will call us home. During the time that we are on this Earth, we acquire “stuff” and it is our responsibility to make sure that all of that “stuff” goes to the right people or places when we are gone. In the book of Psalms, Chapter 24, verse 1, the Scriptures state that “The Earth is the Lord’s, AND EVERYTHING IN IT, the World, and all who live in it. What that means to all of us is that we don’t actually own all of the “stuff” that we have, including ourselves, it all belongs to God; we are just stewards of it.
I often pose a trick question to all of my clients and students when it comes to estate planning, which is: “What type of vehicle do you not see at a funeral home or a cemetery?” Need some time to think on that one? The answer is: a moving truck. Again, facetious, but true as there is some significant truth to the old saying: you can’t take it with you. I have heard of some strange situations where people have purchased a large mausoleum or they have tried placing large amounts of personal property in their caskets with them, but the reality is, they are not taking it with them. Our “stuff” stays here and we leave this Earth at some point. It will be distributed, whether you like it or not and it will be distributed either by your own plans or by someone else, it is up to you to decide.
So, my main point of this article and the most important question for you in the New Year is: What are you waiting for? If you want a resolution that everyone should complete, this is the one. You have the ability to take care of your “stuff” and, more importantly, leaving a lasting legacy that will provide for your loved ones and ultimately for God’s Kingdom. After all, shouldn’t this be our main focus in this world?