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Why Do So Many Pastors Pass on Estate Planning?

“Passport? Check. Airline ticket? Check. Hotel reservation? Check. After careful planning, you're ready for vacation!  However, have you taken more time preparing for a vacation than your estate plan?”


The results of the survey, which are detailed in an article from Baptist Press titled “Young or old, many pastors lack a will, survey finds,” present a contradiction. When asked how important estate planning was, 74% said it should be considered a part of a person’s financial stewardship.

Basic planning saves a lot of headaches for loved ones. With an estate plan, assets can be protected, and taxes can be minimized. While it’s understandable why people might want to procrastinate, the reality is that not having a will can have a devastating impact on the family and on the estate.

The survey reveals that pastors age 18-44 are least likely to have a will or a durable power of attorney with health care directives.  However, even among pastors closest to retirement, ages 55-64 and 65 and up, only 54% have a will. Only 25% of these groups have a durable power of attorney.

One concern is that pastors with young families do not have a will in place. They do understand (64%) that in the absence of a will, the court decides who will care for a child, if the last parent dies without a will.

48% of the pastors agreed with a statement that if someone dies without a will, the family decides what happens with the assets of the deceased.

The fact is, for property and children, the court decides what happens, if there is no will in place.

Having a will protects the family in many ways. It protects minor children by allowing the parents to decide who they want to be given the responsibility to rear the children—a guardian—and to also select a person who will manage the funds left for the children.

A will also allows a person to express their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets. An estate plan can be designed to minimize tax liabilities and, if used in combination with certain trusts, control how and when assets are distributed.

Speak with an estate planning attorney to have a will created that reflects your situation and protects your family.

Reference: Baptist Press (Aug. 31, 2018) “Young or old, many pastors lack a will, survey finds”

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