By: Barry G. Allen- President & CEO
Unless you do take the appropriate steps, much of what the Lord has entrusted to you to manage, namely, your net worth – that is - your estate, may not go to those you intended it to go.
What you may not realize is, even if you have a last will and testament, much of what you own at the time of your death may not pass according to the terms of your will. Therefore, it is of utmost importance you engage in some planning to avoid unintentionally disinheriting your intended beneficiaries from a significant portion of your estate. Such planning is consistent with the biblical admonition of the Apostle Paul found in 1 Timothy 5:8, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Examples of accounts that will not pass according to the terms of your will are accounts for which you have named beneficiaries and accounts jointly owned with rights of survivorship. Retirement accounts and life insurance policies typically have named beneficiaries. If you intend for those funds to pass to the same beneficiaries as the ones named in your will, then you must make sure you have coordinated the beneficiary designations with the provisions in your will. Bank accounts and real estate owned by married couples typically are jointly owned with rights of survivorship (JWROS). As a result, those assets pass directly to the surviving joint owner at the death of the first to die regardless of the beneficiary designation in the will of the first to die.
Let me urge those of you who have a will to take the time early in this new year to review the beneficiary designations of your retirement and insurance accounts and the way in which your other assets are titled, and make sure they are all coordinated with your intentions as outlined in your will to assure those you want to inherit your estate will inherit your estate. And furthermore, make sure your intentions are consistent with God’s intentions.
The KBF is available for private estate stewardship consultation as well as conducting a Christian estate stewardship seminar in your church. Call us toll-free and visit our website and Facebook page.