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Should you get a will or a trust?

A revocable trust is a legal document that allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime and after your death. It is a flexible and convenient way to handle your property and ensure that it is distributed according to your wishes. There are several benefits to creating a revocable trust rather than a will.

One of the main benefits of a revocable trust is that it can avoid the probate process. Probate is the legal process of administering a person's estate after their death. It involves proving the validity of the will, identifying and inventorying the deceased's assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. The probate process can be time-consuming and expensive, with legal and administrative fees often amounting to a significant percentage of the estate. A revocable trust, on the other hand, does not go through probate because the assets in the trust are already transferred to the beneficiaries upon the creator's death. This means that the distribution of the assets can be carried out more quickly and efficiently, with fewer legal and administrative costs.

Another benefit of a revocable trust is that it can provide more privacy and confidentiality than a will. When a will goes through probate, it becomes a public record, which means that anyone can access it and see what the deceased person owned and who they left their assets to. A revocable trust, on the other hand, is a private document that is not subject to public scrutiny. This can be particularly important for people who want to keep their financial affairs and distribution of assets private.

A revocable trust can also provide more flexibility and control than a will. With a will, you can only specify how your assets should be distributed after your death. A revocable trust, on the other hand, allows you to manage your assets during your lifetime as well as after your death. You can specify when and how the assets in the trust should be distributed, and you can even change your mind and make adjustments to the trust as long as you are still alive and competent. This flexibility can be particularly useful if your circumstances change or if you want to make sure that your assets are used in a particular way.

A revocable trust can also be a useful tool for estate planning. It can help you to minimize taxes and other expenses, protect your assets from creditors and lawsuits, and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. For example, you can use a revocable trust to protect your assets from the high costs of long-term care or to provide for minor children or other dependents.

In conclusion, a revocable trust is a useful tool for managing your assets and ensuring that they are distributed according to your wishes. It can avoid the probate process, provide more privacy and confidentiality than a will, offer more flexibility and control, and be an effective tool for estate planning. While a will is an important legal document, a revocable trust can offer additional benefits and protections for you and your loved ones.

What you should learn from Hillsong

Unfortunately, the latest Hillsong scandal is not surprising or unique. Religious institutions have garnered a deserved reputation for hiding their sin issues rather than dealing with them in a Biblical and legal way. Church and ministry leaders will provide the excuse that they do not want to hurt the reputation of the Lord or the ministry of their church. Inevitably, both are harmed when hidden sin, and even criminal activity, is hidden and then comes to light. No Christian should be surprised since Jesus addressed this hypocrisy directly. Luke 12:1-3 says, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known. So then whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.”

Here are some items to consider if you are a ministry or Church leader:

1. God’s reputation and authority is big enough to handle the sin issues in your ministry. You are not. Through His word, you have been provided with Biblical principles to handle sin issues in your church or ministry. Apply them. In addition, you are called to be subject to the authorities that God has placed over your ministry and its members. Romans 13:2-7. Do not think that your ministry is above the law. You are just piling one sinful behavior on another.

2. You should have proper employee guidelines and bylaws in place that comply with Scripture first, and then the laws of the land. Fortunately, we live in a nation that has enshrined religious freedom into our most fundamental legal documents, but you can give that freedom away if your ministry engages in certain conduct or unknowingly gives it away to the government. Preserve the religious freedom of your ministry, but exercise proper Biblical accountability through principled policies.

3. Humble yourself and seek advice from an attorney that understands ministry culture, Biblical principles, and the law of the land. Seeking counsel is wise. Proverbs 11:14. When there is no guidance, your ministry will fall. If you have a concern about a situation in your church or ministry, ask for help.

If you have a situation in your ministry or church, give me a call. I have helped ministries and church organizations deal with a wide variety of issues, including employee misconduct, sexual allegations, church discipline and disputes between church members. The Bible is not silent on these issues, and I can help you apply Biblical principles in accordance with the laws of your state and our nation.

Questions linger a year after McGirt applied to Choctaw Nation

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Nellie Meashintubby believes that tribal sovereignty means the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma should have not only criminal jurisdiction over Native Americans within their reservation, but in civil matters too.

The McAlester resident said a year after Oklahoma’s appellate court applied the landmark U.S. Supreme Court to the Choctaw Nation of which she’s a member, she wants to see the state of Oklahoma acknowledge that the tribes are soverign nations.

“The Oklahoma State Constitution, it disclaims all areas of this land; the U.S. Constituiton says that the treaties are the supreme law of the land, so what I would like to see is that they uphold the treaties and they follow through with what the treaties were meant to be,” Meashintubby said.

Agencies, courts, and lawmakers said they continue working to address concerns since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision July 2020 in McGirt v. Oklahoma that Congress never disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation with subsequent ruling appying the anysis to the remaining Five Tribes and the Quapaw Nation.

The decision meant Oklahoma lost criminal jurisdiction over Native Americans in what is defined by federal statute as “Indian Country.”

State officials have said the decision created chaos in the courts and left victims without legal recourse. Native American leaders have praised the landmark ruling as a win for tribal sovereignty.

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Derrick James and Adrian O'Hanlon III write for the McAlester News-Capital