On our recent trip to Guatemala we discovered that it was the practice of restaurants in that country to add a 10% gratuity to the bill. The amount was printed on the bill. There was no place for the customer to indicate a more generous tip. Here, of course, a higher percentage (15-20%) is customary, but it is up to the patron to indicate the amount of gratuity that he or she wishes to include.
Most of us appreciate being able to choose how we will show our generosity – not just in tips, but in other ways as well. We like to show special favor when we feel we have been served well in a restaurant. We like to show special appreciation to people who have done nice things for us. We want to show our thanksgiving to God who showers gifts upon us through our generous giving to the church and to helping agencies. We perhaps enjoy providing gifts to our alma mater in appreciation of the educational opportunities it provided to us and continues to provide to others. We like making such choices.
We have the opportunity to make those choices beyond the years we are alive as well. We indicate those choices through a written estate settlement, a will or a living trust. If, by the time you die, you do not have a written will your assets will get distributed – but maybe not the way you would most desire. The state will determine what happens with your assets – it is no longer your choice.
An estate plan, a will, or a living trust allows you to choose your own path of generosity. Such a plan is critically important for all adults regardless of wealth, marital status, or age. A will allows you to:
- Ensure that your possessions will be distributed as you wish. You can decide on the exact distribution in general, and assignment of particular items of value – whether monetary or sentimental. Enables you to designate particular gifts to charities as you choose.
- Appoint and outline powers of an Executor and/or Trustee. Designating a trustworthy executor provides peace of mind that the terms of your Will will be honored.
- Appoint a guardian for minor children. Your Will serves as the legal guiding document in the event of the death of both parents.
- Expedite the legal process. It is generally faster and less costly to settle an estate with a valid Will. Reducing fees protects the value of your assets to be passed on to the designated beneficiaries.
- Reduce stress and heartache for loved ones. A Will that clearly outlines your wishes will reduce confusion or family disagreements during a stressful and emotionally difficult time.
The Heart of Longmont is providing help for you. On Wednesday May 10, we have arranged for the Planned Giving Director of the Rocky Mountain United Methodist Foundation, along with a qualified estate attorney, to present practical information and answer questions about wills and estate plans. Refreshments and introductions begin at 6:30PM. Sign up at the Hospitality Desk or contact Keith Watson, 720−684−6546 or firstname.lastname@example.org