Who Needs a Will?

Facing our mortality is sometimes a big obstacle, but we should plan for the future. An important part of that planning, depending on our situations, could be to make a will. As a director of financial planning, I know people who resist preparing this important document.

When preparing a will and estate plan, keep in mind that individual circumstances and state laws vary. In some cases, legal assistance may be required. If so, look for an attorney who is experienced with drafting wills and estate planning.

A will is important for several reasons, some of which are:

1. Nominating a guardian for your minor children (younger than 18 in most states) and establishing a trust fund to take care of them.

2. Controlling the distribution of your estate, which is everything you own. Thus, you can clarify which heirs will receive your assets.

3. Reducing estate taxes and probate expenses. Wills can be used to establish certain tax-saving types of trusts to reduce the amount of estate taxes paid. Probate, the legal process of administering a deceased person’s will, is not particularly expensive in most states unless a dispute arises among your heirs. Spelling out your intentions in a carefully drafted will could help or possibly avoid the probate process altogether.

4. Choosing an executor, the person who will carry out the wishes described in your will.

5. Authorizing continuation of a business. If you have a business and choose to have your children run it after your death, grant them permission to do so in your will. Specifying which child or children should minister business dealings helps family unity as it provides organization and an upfront understanding of your intentions.

Update your will whenever you experience life changes such as marriage, divorce, more children, a move, or fluctuating assets.

Because there are different types of wills to meet various circumstances, research what will best meet your needs. Legal fees vary, but you can also begin to educate yourself through information found in public libraries, listings in phone books, and on-line sources, to name a few ideas.

Mark Groesbeck, Kingwood First Ward, Kingwood Texas Stake

[illustration] Illustration by Joe Flores

Forefather’s Day

When I learned that my son and daughter-in-law were coming to dinner with their four children to celebrate Father’s Day with me, I reflected sadly that they had not known my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who were now deceased. They were good men who had been wonderful examples of faith and character. “All we have left are their pictures,” I mused. Then an idea flashed to mind. “Pictures—that’s it!” I took framed pictures of my father and grandfathers off the walls and gathered all the pictures I could find in the photo albums. Then, on the dining room table, I created a display of the pictures and added a placard that read, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Ex. 20:12).

When my grandchildren arrived for dinner, I was happy to see that even at their young ages, they were interested in their ancestors. I told them who each one was, where he had been born, and whatever I knew about him. The afternoon brought a wonderful feeling as we honored our fathers and grandfathers on their special day.

Ann Blackshear Alldredge, Panama City Ward, Panama City Florida Stake

A Primary Idea

When I was Primary president, I found the Family Home Evening Resource Book helpful as I prepared junior and senior Primary sharing times. There are a number of lessons in the resource book that can be modified to use with a large group. It makes a wonderful resource for Primary!

Becky Christensen, Nampa 11th Ward, Nampa Idaho Stake

A Time Line for the Scriptures

My husband and I used family home evening to create a time line of scriptural events beginning with Adam and Eve. Then we added events from world history to give the children an overview of how these events fit together.

We started by teaching them about the seven 1,000-year periods described by the Lord in D&C 88:108–110. Then we made a book with seven pages, each page representing 1,000 years. We used the chronology in the Bible Dictionary to help us create a basic time line with approximate dates of the following key events: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; Enoch and his city; Noah and the Flood; the Tower of Babel; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Abrahamic covenant; Joseph taken captive into Egypt; Moses and the exodus of the children of Israel; Lehi’s exodus to the Americas; and the birth of Jesus Christ. We focused on these stories and dates until our children knew them well.

Next we added the story of Daniel and his interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (see Dan. 2:31–49). From this, our children learned about the civilizations of Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, and Rome. Against this historical background, we studied King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in detail and helped our children see that it was a prophecy of the coming forth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Then we moved our focus to American history and studied Nephi’s vision in 1 Nephi 13 [1 Ne. 13], the Apostasy, Christopher Columbus, the Reformation, the Pilgrims, and the Revolutionary War. Against this historical background, we helped our children see that these things helped prepare the way for the gospel to be restored on the earth.

We finished by studying Church history from 1820 to the present.

With this basic framework of scriptural events in place, we have found that our children are better prepared to place other events, scientists, explorers, composers, artists, and prophets where they belong on a time line.

Julie Proud, Bennion Heights Sixth Ward, Bennion Heights Utah Stake

[illustration] Illustration by Beth Whittaker