Friday, August 14, 2015

Fringe Beneficiaries


Several years ago, my family was forced to get some financial paperwork in order which we assumed was already in order. Our folks' will went into the court system in Kansas and they officially named Dave the executor, even though we assumed that was all taken care of when Mom and Dad died. I also, thanks to Dr. David Lacey, our former upper school administrator and an attorney, now have a will, making sure my vast fortune does not become a front page headline when I move on to the other side. One other matter I took care of was life insurance policies. To see why they needed addressing, read the following entry from March 7, 2007!

We had a faculty/staff meeting after school today. Like most teachers, I detest post-school meetings. We've all been to these get-togethers that drag on endlessly with meaningless questions. Westbury Christian School has done a great job keeping them to a minimum but every so often, you still have to assemble. Today wasn't bad. Actually, it was very good! Our Board of Directors, in a constant effort to upgrade our benefit package, announced this afternoon that each of us would receive free of charge a $15,000 life insurance policy with the option to buy more at a reasonable rate. It was a very generous and most appreciated gesture. I already have life insurance so all that was required of me was to indicate the beneficiary on the new policy should I pass away. This made me uncomfortable. It didn't bother me to think of mortality. I was at a loss when it came to fill in that blank regarding who the cash would default to. You see, I have no kids and I'm not married so the most logical options are, at least for now, not available. This isn't the first time this has happened. I'm going to tell you something that is completely illogical. I possess a $100,000 life insurance policy and the beneficiaries are.....my folks. Now, in my defense, I bought this policy in college and simply have failed to change the recipients should I fall into harm's way. Statistically speaking, my parents are much likely to die before I do. My mom is eighty-one years old and my dad is seventy-eight so I doubt they will ever be in dire need of a payoff from their son. I have considered switching the beneficiary to a mission work in Honduras but that would create a dilemma should I get married, as I plan to. I'd feel dishonest changing back, from helping impoverished children to my own newly created family. So it sits unchanged, as it has for many years.

This isn't how it's supposed to be and I have scripture to back me up. In Second Corinthians 12:14, Paul teaches that, "children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children." Somehow, I've got it backwards although I know I stand to inherit a modest amount of wealth on the passing of my parents, assuming Dad doesn't go on a spending spree! God asks a tough question in the Luke 12 parable about a rich, but selfish, farmer. "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. THEN WHO WILL GET WHAT YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR YOURSELF?" Our lives here should be spent in preparation for the destination where cash won't have purchasing power and credit cards have no worth. What little I have here can still bless someone left behind. Like many of us, my dollar value is considerably higher should I perish than if I go on in this body. Guess who I signed up as my beneficiary today? My dad. Now, giving me the benefit of the doubt, Dad's address was the only address I could remember and it was a necessity to list his birth date, which I also have memorized. Still, my folks went to sleep this evening potentially $15,000 richer than when they woke up this morning. That's a pretty good return on investments for a retired couple! I hope I'm not being selfish when I tell you I'm praying they don't get the opportunity to cash in on their new-found wealth.


Applicable quote of the day:
"A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair."
Machiavelli


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

www.hawleybooks.com
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

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