Please allow me to be frank. It’s unrealistic to think that a piece of paper you draft, reflecting your life at a certain time, will work when your life has completely changed some years later. I'll use the Johnson family as an example.
Meet the Johnsons
Meet Bob and Lynn Johnson. They got their first estate plan in place when their daughter, Julia, was born 30 years ago. They updated it when their son Ron came along 4 years later. After attending one of Josh Bryant's living trust seminars 7 years ago, they got a fantastic trust-based plan in place, protecting themselves, their children, their grandchildren, and their dog, Billie.
Unfortunately, the Johnsons didn’t join Josh Bryant's client maintenance program; instead, they elected to take responsibility for calling him for updates themselves. Life got busy and, as you might guess, they never called to update their documents.
Here’s what’s changed in their lives in the last 10 years.
Do you think their estate plan will still work the way they want it to?
Changes in Your Own Life
The Johnsons have experienced a lot of changes, but those changes are typical of what 10 years brings. Think about the changes in your life over the past 10 years — or since you last updated your estate plan.
Have you moved? Do you have more children or grandchildren? Have you started a business, suffered health problems, or purchased a new home? Do you have new accounts and investments? Do you now care for a parent, pets, or dependent children? Have you remarried, gotten divorced, or retired? Has someone you loved died? Have friends or family named in your plan as trusted helpers moved away, or has your relationship changed? Are your children now adults and able to help you? Do you want to help with grandchildren’s college or dance lessons? Do you see the world in a different way?
Many things have happened in the past 10 years. Your estate plan needs to reflect the changes in your personal life, financial situation, and goals. There have also been changes in the law. Josh Bryant stays abreast of these changes to protect his clients in better and better ways, so the way he does things has changed.
Is Your Estate Plan Out of Date?
If you’ve experienced changes like the Johnsons, or it’s been more than 3 to 5 years since you updated your estate plan, it’s time to call Josh Bryant. He’ll review your plan and talk about what’s been happening in your life. He can get you and your estate plan up to date, reflecting where your life is now.
by Josh Bryant
Apps can kill your productivity and growth. They can also do the opposite. It all depends on where you decide to spend your time on your phone or tablet. Are you daily going to your games folder? How's your productivity and growth? Here is my daily folder - nine apps that I use every day and endorse for you to consider using as well.
You'll need your church (or at least a church) to have a subscription to DevoHub. When you first open the app, it uses geolocation to determine if you are in the range of a download zone. If you live in Northwest Arkansas, download the app and go sit in the parking lot of First Baptist Church in Rogers. Then you'll be able to access seven different devotional sets ranging from men and women specific to kids to Spanish language. Each devotional only takes about 5 minutes and is well worth the time.
2. Logos Bible
This is an amazing app if you want to go a bit deeper. I like to do a devotional and having a Bible reading plan going on (like reading through the Bible in one year). Logos has the functionality to build just about any kind of reading plan you'd like. It also has a prayer list feature that allows you to schedule days to pray for certain things and take notes about God's response to your prayers. There are study guides and books that you can download too. This really is a great app.
This app just keeps getting better. It's always been good for helping with Scripture memory. Recently though, they've added a groups function as well as a few catechisms. This app could be used to help your kids memorize Scripture - you can do it as a family. You could memorize Scripture in your small group and hold one another accountable to hid God's Word in your collective and individual hearts. It is well worth the small fee.
My personality is such that I need to constantly be learning new things. Curiosity is a great app for that. Select topics that interest you and every day you'll get 3-5 articles from which you can learn something new. Each article only takes 2-5 minutes to read and often comes with related videos. Spending a few minutes in this app is one of the highlights of many of my days.
There are two things I love about this app. The first is a daily motivational video of 2-3 minutes. It's a great way to jump start your day. But, I also like that I can spend 20-30 minutes and hear the highlights of a book rather than have to take 6-8 hours over the course of a couple of weeks to read the whole book. The app also offers master classes on topics ranging from weight management to one of my favorite subjects - stoic philosophy. Lastly, there are several "packs" which combine videos and worksheets thematically to organize the way you study and retain the material.
Most folks have heard of TED talks. A lot of times, I find myself disagreeing with a lot of what is being spoken about. The talks more often than not lean liberal or atheistic, but they do challenge my way of thinking and sharpen my own beliefs and worldview. They help me understand other ways of looking at the world. A lot of the time, the subjects are really intriguing and while I may disagree with the conclusion, the topic itself or the underlying information can be really useful.
Does it work? I don't know. The folks at Luminosity says it does. However, recent research suggests that brain-training games just make you good at brain-training games. Specifically, there was extensive evidence that brain-training improved performance on those specific tasks, less evidence that brain-training affected closely related tasks, and no evidence that brain-training improves overall cognitive functioning. (By the way, I learned that on the Curiosity app.) But if you're going to spend time playing games, this is probably better than football, poker, or Fortnite.
This app is part of a bit of a game changer in journaling and productivity. The first step is to take a short quiz to determine your brain type. I am an alchemist. Then, things get expensive when you order your quarterly day planner and journal for around $45 a pop. But, the planner helps you keep track of things in a way that your brain naturally needs. Alchemists like me need the opportunity to learn, explore, and share discoveries. So the Evo planner makes sure I build time in my day for such activities. It also breaks down goal setting from monthly to weekly to daily goals, all heading towards the same things - productivity and growth.
Last but not least, an exercise app. Exercise helps with so much - weight management, cognitive performance, sleep cycle, cardiovascular health, and more. So of course, we need to have a go to app for daily exercise. There are several out there, but I like Sworkit because all of the exercises require no equipment and can be done indoors. You can also set a timer when creating a workout so that you do each exercise for a few seconds, take breaks when necessary, and finish on time.
In 2018, the federal poverty guidelines for a family of two placed the federal poverty level at $16,460. It would be hard for one person to live on that much, but in Arkansas you can earn that much just by being pregnant and willing to give up your child for adoption. Why? For several reasons.
First, some adoptive parents are understandably desperate. They want nothing more than to have a family and just can't do so by natural means.
Second, some biological parents are also understandably desperate. They have no job and no means of raising a child, but find themselves pregnant. Some don't speak the language and or have any marketable job skills. They make a difficult choice that's in the best interests of their child and make a plan for adoption.
Third, some people have noticed the desperation and learned how to make a living doing good helping desperate people.
Fourth, some of those people have made not only a living, but a very good one.
Fifth, they see the same biological mothers a second time, then a third, then a fourth. It doesn't take long until the biological mothers are more valuable to them desperate and pregnant than employed and thriving or the desperate adoptive parents so excited to have a baby of their own that they'll all but give the person their online banking passwords. When that's the case, they'll pay these biological mothers almost whatever they want to keep them happy, in the adoption plan, and with any luck back three months after giving birth to place another child.
Which leads to sixth - some biological mothers become dependent upon the money, gifts, and support offered by adoptive parents misled to believe they are doing the world a favor and growing their family at the same time. The most I've seen for any one adoption is $18,500, but there could be others who've earned more. I've heard of bail money for friends, video games, cash under the table, and in once case one person even got a car.
This does not happen in all adoptions. And helping biological mothers out during the pregnancy isn't in and of itself a bad thing. But there must be limits. Adoption was never meant to be a means of paying a person the equivalent of a year's worth of full time work at $7.92/hour during a five or six month adoption plan out of a nine month pregnancy. House Bill 1488 would fix that. It places a cap on expenses adoptive parents can pay to biological mothers at $10,000 unless the health of the child or mother warrants a judge raising that amount. That places Arkansas as one of a handful of states that have taken a similar approach to dealing with this problem. Massachusetts allows $980 per month during the adoption plan, while Wisconsin has a $5,000.00 cap. Other states have lower caps, but higher abortion rates.
Arkansans, call your representatives and senators and ask them to support HB 1488!
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I follow Christ. I have a beautiful wife Megan and three wonderful children, Harrisen, Rebekah, and Carter. I have an M.Div. from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, am licensed to practice law in several state and federal courts, and live in Rogers, Arkansas. I write a blog and produce a podcast. And I do it all that others may know Christ.