I had a dream that a friend gifted to his best friend the cost of an attorney to prepare a will. Both friends had families with children. The friend was very grateful, but he never contacted the attorney to create the will. The friend would encourage him to call the attorney, but he never did. Both friends were infected with COVID-19; unfortunately, the one without a will did not survive. I awoke in a sweat.
This dream, unfortunately, is the reality for many Seventh-day Adventists around the world. By not making a plan while living, they are trusting their governments, families, or friends to plan for them after death. God gives an example of how to plan before there is a need, as seen in 2 Timothy 1:9. Before our world “began” God had a plan. Before there was need for a plan, God made provision for the rescue of humanity if they chose to disobey.
Will it be two years before the world returns to the new normal? Portions of the global community are starting to lift the restrictions that have been so unpopular, but we have learned to live with them. At the same time, other areas of the world are still being hit very hard by the pandemic. At present, 2 percent of the world population has contracted COVID-19. This number is conservative since, in many parts of the world, reliable diagnoses of COVID-19 are not available. We all have been affected by this pandemic in some way.
Looking back to March 2020, we learned that something was not right with the world when stores did not have toilet paper, bleach, and hand sanitizer. empowering partners Food stores started running out of popular
food items. Then we all had to start wearing face coverings. It felt so strange at the time, but now we have grown accustomed to those masks. Many people nowadays are hesitant to remove them.
As I write, the pandemic has killed nearly 4.5 million people worldwide. Thank God for the development of vaccines to protect us from this virus. As of this writing, more than 10 percent of the worldwide population is vaccinated. We are starting to see cases and mortality stabilize and decrease due to vaccines in some areas of the world.
Paradoxically, COVID-19 has also had a positive impact on society. I have heard many say that they did not get the common cold or the flu this past year. We have learned to connect with people all over the world via electronic media. Evangelism has continued with many baptisms resulting from very creative methods of outreach. Regarding estate planning, 63 percent more young adults were motivated to create a plan for their families during 2020. For the first time in history, more 18- to 34-year olds have a will than those in the 35 to 54 age group. These young adults state that the number-one factor motivating them to create a plan for their families was COVID-19. People of varied ethnic and demographic backgrounds are having wills prepared for their families. This increased sense of the importance of wills and estate planning is one positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I will now answer some questions that can motivate you on your journey to create a will.
Why no will?
The number one reason why people do not make a will to provide for their families is not knowing how to begin. (2) The second reason is procrastination or neglect. (3) The third reason is that they think they do not have enough money or property to require a plan. (4) The fourth reason that I hear worldwide is that it is not part of their customs, cultures, or traditions to plan for distribution of resources after death. Have you ever heard any of these reasons for choosing not to plan?
In most parts of the world, the local mission/conference or union Planned Giving & Trust Services leader may provide direction for planning in your country or region. You may find contact information for your part of the world at www.willplan.org. Click on the world map to request information.
When Can I Do It?
Every family with children has enough to require a plan. As early as possible in one’s life is the best and easiest time to start. You can then adjust the plan as your circumstances change. When you have children, you need to plan for their care and support if something happens to both parents. Care and provision for your children is the most important reason to plan.
What About Being a Lone Rider?
“Let it ever be kept in mind that the present selfish system of disposing of property is not God’s plan, but man’s device. Christians should be reformers, and break up this present system, giving an entirely new aspect to the formation of wills. Let the idea be ever-present that it is the Lord’s property which you are handling. The will of God in this matter is law.1 When it comes to custom, culture, or tradition, Ellen White clarifies that all Christians are guided by the customs of Scripture, a culture that is of heaven, and a tradition of serving a heavenly Lawgiver. Christians belong to a culture that honors and obeys Jesus Christ above all. The law of God takes priority when it comes to planning in their lives and families. Following the example of God and Jesus in planning before there is a need for a plan is taught in 2 Timothy 1:9.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all humans have changed cherished habits and modes of life in order to survive. Remember when people who washed their hands after touching any surface were considered eccentric? Scripture makes it very clear that we should always provide for the needs of our families (1 Tim. 5:8). Ellen White tells us that “in disposing of your property by will to your relatives, be sure that you do not forget God’s cause.”. These reforms are what God wants to see in His last-day remnant church. Seek God for how He would have your family plan. Now make an appointment to plan. £
1 Ellen G. White, Counsels on Stewardship (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1940), p. 328. 2 Ibid.