Probate can ruin a lifetime of plans

By Travis Pearson
While we would never attend a Broadway musical without a ticket or take a trip without luggage, most Americans have not taken the time to plan for their future.
When we fail to plan, our dreams, wishes and hopes may never be fully realized. Unfortunately, this also means our family and beneficiaries experience the expense and frustration of estate administration. Many simply never get around to doing it.
As author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” The result is disappointing. A few months of probate can destroy what it took a lifetime to create. Don’t let this happen to you or your family.
The good news is that planning is easy and rewarding. In less time than it takes to choose and arrange a summer vacation, you can complete a plan that outlines your goals and lets your family and friends know the values you hold dearly. Take the time to plan your legacy. You will be glad you did, and every day thereafter, you can expect the peace and comfort of knowing the life you live today will matter tomorrow.
While there are plenty of perils for not having a will or estate plan, there are great rewards for those who do have one. For those who plan, there is a comfort and satisfaction in knowing that love for family and friends will continue for years to come. And property enjoyed today will be preserved and appreciated tomorrow.
There is another benefit, too. Many individuals who have a will also include a provision in their plan for their parish or a diocesan ministry.
Including your parish or diocesan ministry in your will has many benefits. Perhaps most importantly, it demonstrates and affirms the stewardship you have shown during your life will be transformed into a lasting legacy living beyond your time here.
When you include a gift to your parish or other diocesan ministry in your will, you are telling yourself, your family and the world what is important to you. Your family will see that the works and loves of your life will be lasting. Of course another benefit is your estate will receive an estate tax charitable deduction as well.
Your life matters, and your wishes count. But without a plan, they are only wishes.
Pearson is Planned Giving coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita.