The principle of stewardship revolves around the belief that God is the only true owner of wealth. People that possess it during their lives are simply stewards of something that they do not actually own. This is a concept that can be in the forefront of your thinking when you are engaged in your estate planning efforts.
We can provide the assistance you need if you would like to put an estate plan in place as a Christian. At the core of the plan will be an asset transfer vehicle, and there are a number of different possibilities. A last will is a commonly utilized estate planning device, but there are limitations and drawbacks to take into consideration.
If you use a last will, you would name an executor or personal representative. This person would not be allowed to distribute assets directly to the beneficiaries. Under state laws, the probate court would be involved. This court would determine the validity of the will and provide supervision during the estate administration process.
Probate will typically take about nine months to a year, and the heirs to the estate cannot receive their inheritances during this interim. There are some considerable expenses that can accumulate during the process, and it is a public proceeding. Anyone that is interested can obtain probate records to pry into your final affairs.
A revocable living trust can be utilized to facilitate more efficient asset transfers outside of probate. Plus, there are some other advantages. With a will, you would be providing lump sum inheritances. Things are entirely different with a revocable living trust. You could instruct the trustee to distribute assets to the beneficiaries on an incremental basis over an extended period of time.
This is one alternative to a last will, but there are other types of trusts that can be utilized to satisfy more advanced estate planning objectives. Every situation is different, and we can work closely with you to devise the optimal plan given your situation if you choose to engage our firm.
Many Christian families have strong beliefs about end-of-life matters. You can make sure that your wishes are carried out if you plan your estate in a comprehensive manner. There are advance directives for health care that can be used to address these eventualities. With a living will, you can state your preferences regarding the utilization of artificial life-sustaining measures.
A durable power of attorney for health care can be included as well. With this document, you name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. These would be matters that are not specifically covered in the living will. To allow your medical representative to review your medical records, you would want to include a HIPAA release authorization.
With regard to the subject of incapacitation, you should empower a representative to handle your financial affairs if it ever becomes necessary. This can be done through the execution of a durable financial power of attorney, and if you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee.
We Are Here to Help!
If you would like to discuss stewardship for Christian families with our firm, call us at 831-649-1122 to schedule a consultation. You also have the option of sending us a message through our contact page if you prefer to reach out electronically.