Faith Based Planning
When planning one’s estate, it may seem that the primary focus is about securing and passing on wealth to the next generation. Although wealth succession planning is integral to every estate plan, there are other types of “non-material wealth” that may include your faith and religious convictions.
Indeed, an important question to ask when planning your estate should be: How am I passing on my faith and religious convictions to the next generation?
(1) Prudence in making a Gift
Our material wealth is important because it helps us to live, sustain our family’s needs, and that of our community. Consider a family of five, father and mother with three children, one of whom is a minor. In the event of an untimely death of a parent, it would be necessary to teach the young children the value of saving money, working smart, and deferred gratification. One way to do this would be to pass an inheritance to children through a living Trust which could potentially stagger the distributions to the children until each child is at an age mature enough to handle the inheritance.
So too, making a gift to a church or charity teaches a child the value of how to provide for a specific need in the common good of society. Specifically, one may wish to make a gift of a “tithe” or a tenth of one’s estate to a charity knowing that all wealth is a gift from God, and that we are obligated to be good stewards with what is left over for each of us.
(2) Making Health Care Decisions
Special emphasis must be considered when it comes to making end-of-life decisions consistent with one’s faith and religious beliefs.
For example, a person may not believe that receiving a blood transfusion or other medical treatment on religious grounds. Or, a person may not want extraordinary medical treatment at the end of life, but instead would like to receive nutrition and hydration unless a medical fact exists justifying the denial of ordinary medical care (i.e., the body can no longer assimilate the nutrition and hydration). If this is important to a person, then it is necessary to add language to a health care power of attorney and Living
Will that provide specific instructions to an Agent under a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a medical professional in order to eliminate confusion.
(3) Post Mortem Planning
In addition to the many reasons why every person should have last Will and Testament, it is important also to know that you can also make decisions regarding the disposition of your “final remains” and your “final words” through your Will.
Specifically, if you wish for your body not to be embalmed, and then buried, then it is imperative that this directive is included in a Will. Or if you prefer to be cremated and that your cremains are scattered, then this directive must be specifically stated in your estate planning documents. If there is no express language that directs cremation, burial, or other religious preferences, then the decision will either be left to your heirs as directed under Arizona law (A.R.S. §36-831) or to your personal representative in
Finally, consider including a provision in a Will that offers or accepts forgiveness to a loved one with whom you may have been estranged. In the event that there is no opportunity to express a final word of love and forgiveness, at least this act of forgiveness can be expressed in your Will.
IMPORTANT: Neither this blog article nor any information on this website shall be construed as the offering or rendering of any legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Mesch Clark Rothschild, (“MCR”) or any attorney at MCR. You should consult with an attorney if you have a specific question regarding your legal issues.