Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; Color has a deprecated constructor in /home6/eternam2/public_html/templates/rt_chapelco/features/color.php on line 11
Psalm One Counsel

Psalm One Counsel

Contrasting Christian and Secular Estate Planning

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly..."
-Psalm 1:1

The Bible is clear that Christians must seek Godly counsel on important decisions, yet when it comes to one of the most important planning processes a Christian will ever undertake, little thought is given to the worldview of the professionals whose advice they seek. Because each Christian is accountable to God for his stewardship, estate planning is a matter of eternal consequence! What a joy to know that with the right counsel, we can stand before the Lord and hear, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Three aspects of the Christian worldview distinguish Christian stewardship planning from secular estate planning. These fundamental differences make an extraordinary impact on the eternal outcome of the estate planning process.

 

The FIRST is the Christian's understanding that God owns all of his worldly possessions. [Ps. 50:10] By keeping in mind that God owns our possessions and we are only stewards, we begin the process of current oversight and long-term planning with the appropriate frame of reference.

SECOND is the reality that we will leave behind all our worldly possessions at our death. Paul told Timothy that just as we brought nothing into this world, we certainly will carry nothing out [I Tim. 6:7]. David lamented of mankind’s frailty when he spoke of the “heaping of riches yet not knowing who would gather them” [Ps. 39:6].

THIRD is the reality that as children of God we are to reflect the giving nature of our heavenly Father and that one day He will hold us accountable to His expectations. We are urged by Christ Himself to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” [Mt 6:20] and that stewards are to be faithful [I Cor. 4:2]. To the end that we faithfully fulfill His wishes, He has promised that we will hear, “well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Christian "Lifetime Steward" Planning
1. Counselor views client as a steward of God's entrusted possessions.
2. Biblical/Eternal view guides each participant's thoughts and planning process.
3. Heirs and taxes are A concern in the overall process.
4. Remembering the Lord's work in faithful giving is always a strong consideration.
Ultimate Goal: Fulfill the will of God
  • Lifetime provision and care for family in an honorable way
  • Smooth, planned transition to heirs:
    • Provision adequate yet not a temptation to excess
    • Provision a blessing not a hindrance
  • Honor to the Lord in the final act of stewardship:
    • Prudence to minimize undue taxes
    • Prudence to potentially increase current cash and guarantee future ministry giving
  • Minimize probate concerns and costs
Secular "Owner" Planning
1. Counselor views client as the owner of his "stuff."
2. Secular/temporal view guides each participant's thoughts and planning process.
3. Heirs and taxes are THE concern in the overall process.
4. Giving to "charity" seldom considered and then only for the potential tax benefits.
Ultimate Goal: Fulfill the desires of man
  • Maximize income for personal consumption
  • Pass all to heirs and if possible create a family dynasty
  • Minimize or avoid all taxation
  • Consider charity only if a tax advantage
  • Often structured to guarantee ongoing attorney involvement