Five Reasons to Write a Will

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John Etheridge ©

John Etheridge ©

Although it’s not a particularly easy topic to think about, writing a will and testament is something better done sooner rather than later. Here are five reasons why you should start this process today.

5. It’s easier than ever.

Many websites have popped up that help you jumpstart the process of writing your will and testament. Some offer the basics of how to handle the material aspect. Others also provide tips for electronic assets (for example, passwords to online accounts). These basic templates can get you started, and give you a few follow-up steps to point you in the right direction.

4. It is an act of service to your loved ones.

If you’ve ever had someone close to you pass on to the next world, you know the grieving process is complex. It sucks up your energy, your time, and your attention. Can you imagine having to deal with legal minutiae at such a moment—or in worse scenarios—having paperwork hang over your head for months, even years? It may feel like a lot of hassle right now, but think about it as a temporally-delayed act of service to your loved ones.

Writing a Baha'i Will

Tamila Zeinalova ©

3. It gives you a chance to ponder the divine wisdom of transferring wealth.

A will is not just about handing material wealth on to the next generation of family members. We are also encouraged to designate some portion for our teachers—those who have played an important role in our education and development as human beings, but who are not necessarily close relatives. Furthermore, shares that go to the House of Justice are “to be expended… on the orphaned and widowed, and on whatsoever will bring benefit to the generality of the people, that all may give thanks unto their Lord, the All-Gracious, the Pardoner,” according to the Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 21.

2. It provides the opportunity to put your beliefs in writing.

A testament can be fairly simple—a few sentences or a paragraph stating what you believe. On the other hand, it could be a chance to explore, in long-form writing, why you believe what you do, and expressing that to others may essentially be your final teaching opportunity. One of my favorite examples of this form is Marzieh Gail’s essay “Will and Testament,” published in her book Dawn Over Mount Hira. In five pages she talks about the nature of faith and agnosticism, the divine Manifestations and the religions associated with them, the sincere thirst for justice, and the unique power of religion to transform humanity. It’s a great source of inspiration.

1. It is a law of God.

“Unto everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will. The testator should head this document with the adornment of the Most Great Name, bear witness therein unto the oneness of God in the Dayspring of His Revelation, and make mention, as he may wish, of that which is praiseworthy, so that it may be a testimony for him in the kingdoms of Revelation and Creation and a treasure with his Lord, the Supreme Protector, the Faithful.” –Kitab-i- Aqdas, paragraph 109.