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Clergy procrastinates estate planning decisions

Most residents of Nevada understand that estate planning is key to providing loved ones the easiest possible path to navigating the death of a family member. One might assume that those in professions regularly dealing with death and the sometimes messy aftermath would be especially conscientious with regard to making sure their end of life affairs are in order, but that is not necessarily true.

A recent study commissioned by Lifeway Research, an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, reveals that roughly half of all pastors do not have essential estate planning documents in place to protect their loved ones and their own wishes for disposition of their estate. The surprising numbers show that half of those surveyed also do not have a living will or healthcare directive illustrating their end-of-life wishes and appointing a representative to carry them out. Unsurprisingly, 74 percent of pastors surveyed believe that it is poor stewardship to disregard estate planning. In spite of those high awareness numbers, the study reveals that clergy are not immune to procrastination regarding essential estate planning. Basic estate planning is known to provide guidance and relief for survivors in addition to the financial incentives from tax relief and potential avoidance of a lengthy probate process.

Youthful pastors are most likely to have postponed estate planning. Just 31 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 44 had a will in place, and only 14 percent of that sample had a healthcare directive. Even among those closest to retirement in the 55-64 age bracket, just 54 percent had a will, and only 25 percent had a healthcare directive in place.

Contemplating the end of life can be uncomfortable for people of all ages and professions, but setting out a roadmap for loved ones via estate planning documents may provide invaluable peace of mind during a time of grief. Consulting a qualified attorney regarding a last will and testament may help give everyone concerned much-needed comfort.

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