What About Your Kids?

“For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ “ (Luke 14:29-30)

Many attorneys get so caught up in the physical assets of your estate, they forget the most important things – the Human Life Value you possess.  If you have children, God gave them to you to steward their lives.  This is the ultimate responsibility that you have.  Their life on this earth will be shaped more by you, your guidance, teaching, and modeling than by any other person or thing.

What happens to them if you and your spouse die together prematurely?

A complete estate plan looks far beyond what happens to your stuff (Isaiah 40:6-8), to what happens to your loved ones.  What happens to the knowledge and wisdom that you’ve accumulated?  What happens to your values?  Your life in Christ is supposed to be the foundation upon which your children’s spiritual lives are being built (1 Cor 3:10).  If you die, will your children be able to grow from that point, or will they be starting over having to learn everything the hard way, or not at all?

Crafting your Estate plan should have you think through how you would want assets distributed to them.  Many attorneys lead people to choose an arbitrary age at which to dump the money in their laps.  For many people this can be a very unfortunate thing to do to them.  Another idea is to portion out a little at a time to them.  You might decide to distribute the assets based upon life events rather than arbitrary ages.  Maybe you’d like a third of your assets to come to your child at the time of their graduation, another third at the time of their marriage, and the final third when they have their first child.  Maybe you think this is a horrible idea, but you have a better one?  Perhaps, you’d prefer the apportionment be based upon some other totally different criteria?  The point is that you can design your financial assets to come to your children however you would like.

A more complete Estate plan takes into consideration who you want to raise your children.  This process should make you take the time to talk to them, first getting permission, and then going over how you would want them raised.  What’s more important, the money you’ve accumulated or the wisdom that you’ve accumulated?  Which would you prefer to pass to your children?

How are you going to pass that wisdom if you are not around?  One simple idea that you can use to get started today is to begin journaling – either on paper or by video  – the wisdom and love that you wish to pass on to your children.  Perhaps you can give different messages to them for different stages of their lives.  When crafting a plan with the right advisers, this can be done in a more systematic and effective way so that you are still conveying your love and guidance even after you’re gone.  The beautiful thing is that most of those reading this won’t die young.  But when this work is put in, your children and theirs will have a lasting legacy even if you live to be 100!

Most people leave a haphazard legacy behind them when they are gone.  Wouldn’t you prefer to have a tailored, systematic way of powerfully impacting your family after you’ve gone?  One that’s built according to your values and perspectives to impart who you are with all your spiritual life and legacy included along with the financial means to be the person God would have them be?

Of course you would.

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This post is _Part 16_ in the series The Rock.  To continue with this series, click on Pt 17.  To use this as a growth tool, you might start by reading Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4, Pt 5, Pt 6, Pt 7, Pt 8, Pt 9, Pt 10, Pt 11, Pt 12, Pt 13, Pt 14 and Pt 15.

Photo credit: Calypso 11

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