In the spirit of 1 Timothy 5:8, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” I offer the following…
I’m at the age where I’m closer to leaving this world than when I came into it. I have three children and I want them to be problem free when that time comes for me. Therefore here are some things every (!) parent, and married couple, should have in place prior to their passing.
FIRST: Have an Advance Directive, also known as A Living Will. Whatever your wishes are, should you become incapable of making decisions, need to be spelled out in writing according to the laws of your state. For Alabama, click here. I cannot tell you how important this is!
Second: Put in place a Durable Power of Attorney. This gives a person the legal right to make decisions over all your matters of consequence. Without this, your children and heirs could find themselves in difficult situations. Click here for Alabama.
Third: Have a Last Will and Testament. This way you can bequeath your possession the way you want without the state getting involved. For Alabama, click here. Note: If there are potential difficulties, you may even want to leave an audio recording to make things clear as my grandmother did.
Whatever tangible properties and assets you have, that are not joint with someone else, will have to go through probate. There are ways to get around having a will probated and I suggest you take advantage of this option.
Obtain legal counsel to help you navigate through the probate process. It is worth it!
Note: As best I know right now, probating a will requires: A) Filing with the Probate Judge in the county of their residence. B) Running an ad in the local paper of record for three weeks. C) Waiting six months for claims to be made against the estate. D) Court costs. And E) Attorney fees. This is time consuming and a little of a bother. Thus take advantage of what you can to get around this if you so desire.
Fourth: Take care of your burial needs ahead of time. If you can, go ahead and pay for opening and closing the grave… the marker or headstone… and all other fees. Also pay for the funeral it’s self, which is separate from the previous expenses. The cost for a mid-range funeral in July 2009 was over $13,000.00. And you cannot assign insurance proceeds to pay for these expenses at most funeral homes. Don’t leave your family to have to deal with this during their grieving time.
Fifth: Write out your wishes for your funeral. Who would you like to preach the message? What songs do you want sang or played? Are there special passages of Scripture you want read. Do you prefer for the service to be in the church or at the funeral home or just a graveside?
My parents have taken care of this for me. I am well along the way in doing this for my children. I pray that you will do the same as this is part of fulfilling 1 Timothy 5:8.