Divine disruptions will intrude. Where there’s a will, there’s a way

“The death of my brother has only made the problems between me and my family, especially my sisters, worse than they already were, and I feel it's best to just keep my distance from them for good. I can't trust them.”

Divine disruptions.

That is the memorable phrase I first heard used by renowned pastor Dr. Tony Evans in a book that he and his four children wrote, used to describe the unexpected challenges of life that come our way. We have all encountered divine disruptions in one form or another: a catastrophic illness, dismissal from a job, a divorce, an untimely death, and the list goes on.

Death is the ultimate divine disruption and that is why it so important that we are ready by completing our Last Will and Testament. Many respond “Oh, I’ve got plenty of time for that, no need to rush.” But with a death rate standing firm at 100 percent, it’s important to be responsible and complete a will.

Personally and professionally, Vanessa and I have heard so many horror stories of family feuds that began when a family member passed without leaving a will. Here’s one I read just the other day:

“The death of my brother has only made the problems between me and my family, especially my sisters, worse than they already were, and I feel it's best to just keep my distance from them for good. I can't trust them.”

That individual is not alone. It breaks our hearts to see families fighting. And what should bring them closer together as they recognize their own mortality can often further separate them. It actually took years, but I finally listened to Vanessa’s counsel, and we sat down and completed our wills a few years ago. Each of our three sons has a copy. We are secure and rest easier in completing that very necessary task.

We have learned through experience and heartache that dying is not just for the old – and a will is not just for the wealthy.

Life expectancy in American has dropped for the second year in a row and now holds at 76 years, its lowest point in almost 20 years.

There is a marked increase in death rates in young and middle-aged adults ages 25 to 64. Most of those stem from drug overdoses, suicides, and alcohol-related causes. There are also homicides and car accidents, major problems in 21st-century society as well.

It’s important for us adults to complete a will.

When is a will “age-appropriate?” Well, when children become legal adults at 18, they should draft a will.

The Bible has far more to say on this subject than one might think. Certainly, there are different translations that state it differently but here’s one translation of Hebrews 9:16-17, “For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.”

Creating a plan for what happens when we become stricken or incapacitated or die makes many people feel uncomfortable. But having a plan is being a good steward of what the Father has entrusted to us. Only 1 out of 3 Americans have a will according to recent statistics. Where do you stand?

When you die without a will, you leave important decisions up to a local court and state laws. Do you really want to leave it up to the government, as opposed to your personal preferences and wishes? I don’t. Plus, as seen in the example above, not having a will can make it so much more difficult for your family members, in addition to them processing grief.

There are many important reasons to create a Last Will and Testament. Here are a few:

Avoid (as much as possible) Family Feuding Over Who Gets What. If you have family dynamics that can be troublesome, PLEASE recognize that is such a good reason to have a will. If your wishes are laid out clearly and legally, it can cut down on the drama and the fighting. I worked with a man who is in his late 60s; he and his brother got into a tiff after their father passed. They haven’t spoken in 20-plus years.

Speed the Process for Those Who Remain. It is true that nearly all estates must go to probate court to start the legal process that oversees the distribution of assets. But when you don’t have a will, the court process can get complicated in a hurry. Without a will, the court has to name an administrator, which can be time-consuming, expensive, and divisive for your loved ones. Having a will expedites and streamlines the process.

You Decide Who Gets What. As the testator (the person makes the will), you can name people as beneficiaries for specific assets. When your executor handles your will, they’ll be in charge of distributing these assets. You can use a will to ensure fairness with regard to the distribution of your assets.

Provide Instructions for Your Funeral. If you leave instructions for your funeral, you can ease the burden and stress on your loved ones, who may have to “work together” to decide, which can lead to even more drama. No, your instructions are not legally binding, but they can provide guidance on your wishes.

Other extremely important decisions that can be laid out in a will are: 1) who will take care of your minor children, 2) who will shut down or handle your digital assets (Facebook, etc.), 3) and even who will provide a home for your pet(s).

There’s so much more to it but you get the picture. It’s easier than ever today to make a will – there are multiple online resources that can assist you.

While no one wants to think about death, catastrophic injury, or serious illness, they are realities that thousands of families face every single day. We must all consider and make plans for our mortality before we cannot do so.

Divine disruptions are unanticipated, unexpected, and very often unwanted. But do remember – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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