Because estate planning involves questions about life, death, health, and families, it is often intrinsically intertwined with questions of faith. For many in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma who want to create an estate plan, it is essential that the plan align with their spiritual and religious beliefs. But how can you do this? How do you and your attorney create a plan with which you are comfortable from a faith perspective?
To give you a better idea on how people create estate plans that fulfill their spiritual, ethical, religious, or moral values, let’s look at the estate planning process.
Advice and Options
When people first seek the advice of an estate planning lawyer, it’s often their first time talking to an attorney. Many people don’t know what to expect and certainly don’t know what the estate planning process will require of them.
When you talk to your estate planning attorney, it’s his or her job to provide you with personalized advice. You will sit down, discuss your current situation, your goals for the future, and every other issue you feel is important. Your attorney needs to know this information to help you craft a personalized estate plan.
It is not your lawyer’s job to tell you what to do. Your lawyer will advise you on options, give you advice about what he or she believes is in your best interest, and leave the final decisions up to you. It is your job to make the important choices about the kind of estate plan you want.
When you create an estate plan, you decide what is important to you. Do you want to create a plan that passes inheritances not only to your children or grandchildren, but also to your church or religious organization? Do you want to create a plan that protects the values you hold dear? Are there decisions you want your representatives to make that align with your faith, values, or ethical beliefs? Are there decisions that might violate your beliefs that you want your representatives to know about?
These questions can be very personal and require a lot of thought and preparation. As you think about them and consider your legacy, speak to whomever you want about these issues. Talk to your family, friends, religious advisors, medical experts, and anyone else you believe can help you make the right choices. Once you make your decision, you have done your job. Then it’s your attorney’s job to make sure your choices are honored and protected.
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