A recent survey indicates that 72 percent of Americans will die without an estate plan. When you die without an estate plan, your assets, small or large, default to the government’s plan for you. You may be a fan of the government and courts, but I admit they are not the people I want determining how my estate will be divided. Many younger couples ignore estate plans because they feel they have nothing to leave and forget that the most precious possessions they have are their children. If you do not have a plan, the court will decide who raises your children if you and your spouse die. Not a good plan!
I realize that thinking about one’s final journey can be difficult. We tend to put off dealing with these matters preferring to ignore reality. Be assured, the mortality rate in America (OK, everywhere) is 100 percent. I find it incomprehensible that Christians, called to be stewards of all God gives them, would not plan for the day God calls them home. While I do not want to be harsh, I do want to be blunt. God has blessed you, large or small, and He has given you stewardship over all He has provided—that includes after you die. You cannot take it with you, but you can leave a plan that makes a difference for the glory of God.
You may not have young children still living at home, but you still need an estate plan. A good plan protects you in case you or your spouse are incapacitated, which could be a short- or long-term injury or illness. You want to be in control of who would make medical decisions and manage your financial affairs if you were not able.
Polla and I made our first estate plan decades ago, and have updated it regularly throughout the years as our situation changed. For those who already have an estate plan, keeping your plan updated is an important step. But if you do not have an estate plan and have good intentions, it is time to stop procrastinating. The future of your children and your God-given assets are at stake. More importantly, your eternal impact is at stake.
I want to suggest that you consider contacting The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma (BFO). They will assist you in establishing a plan that fits your station in life. You will be given full control of the plan for distribution of your assets. The BFO is not tied to any ministry, and will not direct you in any way.
Interestingly, across the years, the number one recipient of estate gifts is the local church. Amen! Our local church nurtures, cares for, and trains us. God has given the local church the responsibility to reach the world with the Gospel.
In addition to the church, you should consider a ministry that is making a difference for the work of Christ. In Oklahoma, you can give resources from your estate to Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU), Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC), Baptist Village Communities (BVC) and special ministries within each of these organizations. One way to impact all of these ministries is to leave a gift to Cooperative Program endowment. Those endowment dollars will be divided in Oklahoma as well as support the work of the Southern Baptist Convention, which includes the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
The BGCO, OBU, OBHC, and BVC have agreed that The BFO represents the convention and each affiliate in the churches. The Foundation will come at no charge to the church and will work with the pastor and church membership to develop estate plans for individuals and families with confidentiality and without pressure. Oklahoma Baptist ministries agreed, many years ago, to not make estate presentations in the churches, but to allow The BFO to make the presentations instead.
When our children were young and we were living on the ragged edge of the end of each month, Polla and I established an estate plan. We wanted to determine who would raise our children if we met an untimely death. Today, we want to invest in our children and grandchildren as well as ministries near and dear to our hearts.
If you don’t have an estate plan, it is past time to act. If your plan is many years old, it is time to revisit it. Be a good steward! Call The BFO at 800/949-9988 today and professional, godly counselors will help you establish this very important estate plan.