By: Barry G. Allen-President & CEO
The 2010 Tax Act signed into law by President Obama in December represented the most significant change in the estate tax rules in more than a decade. As a result, it is extremely important for us Christians to understand the impact of the changes in the estate tax rules on our financial circumstances and our stewardship responsibilities and plans. After all, everything we have belongs to God, and He has entrusted it to us to manage in His behalf. Furthermore, estate stewardship likely will be the single most significant and important act of biblical stewardship we shall ever make. And, finally, through estate stewardship, each one of us can impact the world for Kingdom advancement, regardless of our financial station in life.
The advice of the Apostle Paul is instructive in this context. In 1 Timothy 5:8 Paul advised the early Christians then and advises us today to provide for our relatives, and especially our immediate family. The correct sense of the translation “to provide” is the sense of “forethought.” In other words, we are to take care of tomorrow today; we are to anticipate future realities and make plans for them now. That’s what Christian estate planning is all about: prayerfully seeking God’s will for how to steward what He has entrusted to you as it relates to your family, including your spiritual family.
It is important to note the new estate tax rules end in 2012, and in 2013, unless there is action by Congress, the rules revert back to what they would have been in 2011, if Congress had not adopted the 2010 Tax Act. Because of the ramifications of the 2010 Tax Act, we encourage you to review your estate plans and documents with your advisors. We discourage any one from adopting a “wait-and-see” approach. Do it now
Laurie Valentine, our trust counsel, and I are available to conduct a Christian estate planning seminar for your church or church group, which will provide helpful information about the estate tax rules. Call us toll free.