Dec 01, 2016
Through a common real estate practice in France designed to benefit both parties, 47-year-old Andre-Francois Raffray agreed to pay $500 a month to Ms. Jeanne Calment — then 90 years old —until her death, in order to secure eventual ownership of her apartment. Unfortunately, for Raffray, Ms. Calment outlived him and became the Guinness World Record’s oldest living person at 122! In the end, Raffray paid $184,000 for an apartment he never lived in.
While some would say Raffray’s loss was simply a matter of circumstances, others would call it unfair, but fairness is all about perspective. Author Rick Riordan said, “Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need.” Life is full of big questions about fairness like, how should I divide my Estate? Should I treat all my children the same?
In his book, Splitting Heirs, Ron Blue reminds readers that determining the next steward of God’s wealth is an important decision. He advises, “Love them unconditionally, but treat them uniquely.” Begin by asking yourself:
• Are they equipped? Do they have character, values and a demonstrated ability to handle money? What about their spiritual maturity?
• Do some have more genuine needs than others? Does one child have more significant health issues or pressing family situations?
• What are their differences? Consider age, temperament, financial status, and past or current personal struggles.
• Am I being fair to my personal values? Is there a way I can bless my loved ones and the ministries I care about like Bethany Christian Services in my Estate Plan?
These questions are uncomfortable, but Blue wisely acknowledges, “You ultimately must talk with your family about your decisions. It’s better to discuss unequal distributions to children while you are alive than to run the risk of bitterness toward you, or toward each other, after you are dead.” It’s important to remember that fair isn’t always equal, but God is always faithful. “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just” (Deuteronomy 32:4 NIV).
We would like to help you find answers to these tough questions and create a God-honoring Will. Contact us today.