Don't let excuses prevent you from making a will
January 5 2001 by M. Clay Warf , Executive Director, N.C. Baptist Foundation

Don't let excuses prevent you from making a will | Friday, Jan. 5, 2001

Friday, Jan. 5, 2001

Don't let excuses prevent you from making a will

By M. Clay Warf Executive Director, N.C. Baptist Foundation Nobody likes excuses, but everybody makes them at one time or another. I had a friend once who ran a construction company who would tell his people, "I get excuses at home, I don't need them at work." James W. Moore has written a book entitled, "Yes, Lord, I have Sinned, but I have Several Excellent Excuses."

Excuses have been around for a long time. Edward Martin of Los Angeles has said, "Excuses are warning signs that something is wrong in our life that needs to be changed." This is also the clear message of the parable told by Jesus in Luke 14:12-24. The point of the parable is that people who acted as though they were interested in the kingdom of God began to make excuses when it came to doing something about it. Unfortunately, we see that same pattern when it comes to estate planning and preparing a Last Will and Testament.

National statistics consistently reflect that seven out of 10 adults never take the time to prepare a Last Will and Testament and, therefore, die without exercising specific legal rights. Through inaction, they give up the right to make many important decisions that have the potential of saving family from pain and difficulty. Why are people willing to neglect making important, yet basic estate planning decisions? Many reasons are given; here are a few common ones:

"My estate's not big enough."

Many people feel they have to be rich to need or worry about having a will. On the contrary, Christian stewardship principles found in the Bible teach us a lot about being good stewards with what God has entrusted to us. Consider the parable of the talents. By making important decisions in the will (distributions to family and friends, gifts to charity, guardians for minor children, etc.), we are taking personal responsibility in a way that will be pleasing to our Lord.

"Attorneys cost too much."

The average cost for a simple will is typically far less than most think and is well worth the peace of mind it can bring. Think about it as purchasing inexpensive insurance that will protect and provide for loved ones. Unlike car and health insurance, the "premium" is paid once and may not need to be paid again for many years.

"I do not like to think about death and dying."

No one likes to think about death and dying, and it is not healthy to dwell on these things. Yet, it is also important that we not neglect our responsibilities just because we do not want to think about unpleasant things. Instead, we can focus on the positive benefits of the will. Also, when our place is secure with our Lord, death need not bring us great fear.

"Tomorrow, I'll get 'around to it' tomorrow."

Probably the biggest reason that so many people do not have a will is procrastination. Most know of the importance of the will, and it's not really the price or the negative element associated with dying that stops most people from getting "around to it." People today have busy lives; thinking about having a will is easy, but getting it done takes effort and time. Your family is worth it.

In our ministry at the N.C. Baptist Foundation, it is our privilege not only to encourage estate planning as a matter of good Christian stewardship, but also to help N.C. Baptists understand how they can use good estate planning to support their church and other Baptist causes beyond their lifetimes on earth. We are eager to serve N.C. Baptist churches as well as individuals. Please give us that opportunity in the days ahead. All excuses aside, we want to help people realize that there is no time like the present to do good estate planning.

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1/5/2001 12:00:00 AM by M. Clay Warf , Executive Director, N.C. Baptist Foundation | with 0 comments
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