Wills and Estate Planning: Don't Wait to Get Your Affairs in Order
-what most Americans do when it comes to creating a will or preparing an estate plan.
Why do we procrastinate? For most, preparing an estate plan seems like an enormous task. Some think they do not have enough assets to cause concern. Liz and Pendery Gibbens learned first-hand that postponing necessary estate planning can wreak havoc on the heirs of an estate.
When Pendery's father died, they found copies of a handwritten will, but no one could locate the original. "We had the hardest time finding that sucker and couldn't probate his estate until we did," remembers Pendery.
The Gibbens, members of University United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge for over 50 years, have used that experience to their advantage. They have created separate wills with the expertise of their attorney, which should make life easier for their heirs and serve as a convenient vehicle for giving to their church.
"Don't wait," Pendery says. "People need to get their affairs in order before they die. If they don't, they make it difficult for their heirs to figure things out."
For the Gibbens, leaving a bequest to the church felt as natural as worshipping on Sunday. "The church is an important part of our lives. If you support it while you're alive, why not after you're gone?" asked Pendery.
Each has left a personal bequest to the church. Liz enjoys working in the church's gardens and chairing receptions and events, and her bequest will be used for maintaining the beauty of the church. Pendery has served on the Finance Committee and as a Trustee at University and understands the need for funds throughout the budget. He prefers to allow the church to use his bequest wherever the greatest need lies.
Pendery explained that even those with an existing will can add a bequest for the church easily. "The simplest thing to do is to attach a codicil to your will. The beauty of it is that you don't have to redo the entire will.
"The older you get, the less you want to fool with details like this, so if you're moved to get your will done, don't wait. Things can happen that might prevent you from having the chance to state what your wishes are."
Statistics report that three-fourths of adult Americans who died last year did so without a valid will.
"My advice to those contemplating writing a will? - Do not procrastinate," answered Pendery.
You also may want to make it easy and convenient to have a bequest included in your will. The language link below shows how a bequest can very easily be included in your will.
You might find it helpful to print this page and the bequest language. Please feel free to give this information to your attorney. If he or she has any questions, please have them contact us at 225-346-1535 or click here to email us.
Click Here to review sample bequest language.