Wills, Trusts, & Entities
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The legal documents that support your financial endeavors are critical to a healthy Fruitful Tree throughout your lifetime. Yet, this is an area where most people are lax. We’ve focused before on contracts set up with insurance companies, but let’s turn our attention to the documents that you need to craft in order to successfully steward your financial life. These are the most difficult because you must actually write a new document rather than accepting one that a company has already established. It must be said that we here at Kingdom Calling are not attorneys. We refer our clients to a few very good attorneys after uncovering needs. Like each of the previous areas we’ve discussed, this will not be a complete analysis of every legal consideration, but simply a few things that to consider.
Wills & Probate
Do you really want the State to determine what happens to your kids and your assets after you’ve died? This is the plan that most have in place. When you die intestate (without a will), you are letting the state decide who gets your assets and who takes care of your orphan children if you have them.
Each state has different laws and procedures, but in, Texas where we are based, actually does a pretty good job of doing what you would want them to do in many cases, but there are also many exceptions; such as:
- If you have children with someone other than your current spouse, that person will have claim to your assets and your estate will probably be divided other than as you would like it.
- Your children will probably be given an equal share of your estate with your spouse which could make it hard for your spouse to support him/herself and also to best provide for your children.
Probate is the process by which the courts distribute the property and affairs of the deceased. We’ve been told that probate can be a nightmare in many states, but in Texas it is much more palatable. Of course, we’ve had clients who would argue vehemently with this statement.
Any assets owned by someone who dies goes through probate whether or not you have a will. A will determines how your estate will be divided whereas the estate of someone who dies without a will is at the state’s mercy. Any assets owned in trust or by a corporation are not dealt with in probate because the owner of them has not died.
Tomorrow, we’ll discuss a few aspects of such trusts. These can be used in conjunction with your will.
So stay tuned. And share this post with someone who could use it.
This post is _Part 14_ in the series The Rock. To continue with this series, click on Pt 15. 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 and Pt 13.
Photo credit: driek