Simply stewardship

Column: Order your affairs so your loved ones won’t have to

by Lesle Knop

Last month I attended four funerals.

When I open the newspaper, I fear I’ll see the name of another friend listed among the obituaries.

When I called my pastor, Father Keith Lunsford, last week, he was busy administering the sacrament of the sick for one of his parishioners.

A few days later, when I called Father Mick Mulvany in Lawrence, he was thoughtfully writing a homily for the funeral of an elderly relative.

Death is part of life. We all will die someday and pray that we will be granted eternal life with our Lord in heaven.

Our pastors counsel families torn apart by death. Sadly, they have seen the anguish when a widow is left without the means to provide for her future. They have seen families torn apart over assets left behind and not “fairly” distributed. They have seen families struggle while courts and banks tie up assets with “paperwork.”

Have you ever attended a funeral where the adults acted like children, squabbling over stuff, acting as if they had never grown up?

Perhaps they should draw straws, take turns, whoever cuts doesn’t choose the largest piece, stand with their noses touching for 10 minutes, or go stand in the corner until each one can be nice.

Too few of us have a plan for our future. We think if we avoid talking about it, it will go away. It won’t. When Mom and Dad are gone, it’s too late to talk to them about their intentions for the distribution of their assets.

Our stewardship should reflect our understanding that we are temporary caretakers at best and that all we have is a gift. Our stewardship should include helping those we love with the details of what to do when we are gone.

As Lent began this week with Ash Wednesday, what better reminder do we need to live each day with a heart filled with love and forgiveness than the black smudges of ashes crossed on our foreheads?

There are several ways we can assure end-of-life issues don’t divide families. The most important is to be prepared. Let your intentions be known. Write them down. Communicate.

Our gifts can be a testimonial to the value we place on our Catholic faith and a witness to our understanding of the Gospel as a way to teach others how to live. The Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas provides help with wills and other estate planning issues. Please call (913) 647-0325; toll free at 1 (877) 312-1578, ext. 175; or visit us online at: www.

The stewardship of our many gifts requires that we make prudent use of our time to put our affairs in order. We shouldn’t burden loved ones with the added insecurity of uncertain financial planning.

About the author

Lesle Knop

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