Parents responsible to prepare will, choose guardians

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Wills make it possible for your will to be known, followed

By Jon C. Wiebe

Preparing a will is more than a legal process. It should involve prayerful consideration of our resources and the care of our minor children.

I hesitate to even admit that this is an article about the need for a will. Knowing that, many of you may be tempted to quit reading right now. Please hang in there with me.

Two things I want you to know right off the top:

  1. Having a will is a spiritual process before it is a legal process. 

  2. Every adult should have a will, and so much more so if you have children.

I will address these two concerns in more depth, but first, a few facts:

  • Seventy percent of Americans do not have a written will or estate plan.

  • In many families, there is resentment, hurt and wounded relationships that can last for years because of confusion or choices made by family members near, at or after someone's death because of unclear wishes, records or instructions.

  • We will all die!

So, let’s talk about these two concerns. Most of us think writing our will or trust is just a legal process. But when you consider that God is the owner of all and we are just his stewards, our perspective should change. We should recognize that the purpose of our will is to transfer stewardship of all the things God has entrusted to us. So, it’s not only important to have a legal will. It’s also important to have a will that is prayerfully designed from a scriptural perspective.

Through a written will, we have the opportunity and responsibility to transfer the stewardship of resources (money, assets, etc.) and responsibilities (business, children, etc.) to others that will, hopefully, continue to manage and use those resources in a God-honoring way. This is a weighty responsibility, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, whatever your age. The Bible has much to say on this topic. Don’t move too quickly to the counsel of an attorney, without first seeking the wisdom of God.

Secondly, every adult needs a will or an estate plan. The need isn’t based on your asset size or financial situation. Rather, it is founded on the fact that God’s word instructs us to be wise stewards and planning for death is a necessary part of stewardship. For parents with minor children, choosing the right guardians is the most important decision you’ll make as you develop an effective estate plan and transfer stewardship responsibilities. After all, your children are the greatest treasure over which God has given you stewardship.

Quickly, here are three key factors for consideration when choosing guardians: First, and most important, is to choose Christian guardians. You need to be sure that your children continue to be brought up in his Word and in his ways, so that prayerfully they will end up in heaven with you.

Secondly, you might want to choose a Christian couple that lives nearby. This is usually not a critical factor if your children are under age 10 or if you haven’t lived in your community for a long time. However, if your children are in their teens and you’ve been in your community for a long time, it might be a good idea to keep them in the same community.

Lastly, consider choosing guardians who are also in the "raising children" mode of life.

Take the time to prepare a will. Prayerfully seek God’s direction, and let your will for transferring stewardship be known.

Jon C. Wiebe is president and chief executive officer of MB Foundation.

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