Over the last six years, I have done a seminar for our returning missionaries to help start a conversation between adult children and their parents on the topic of elder care based on a collection of resources and using the cross-cultural context. When I look ahead to retirement, I find myself in the “sandwich generation” – a group loosely defined as people in their 40s to 60s who are “sandwiched” between caring for both children and aging parents.
The reality is this – we are the ones who often step into the caregiving role. The bottom line is that we need to have a plan. Here is a list of topics that need to be addressed:
Long-term care insurance: Do you have it? If not, should you buy it?
Living arrangements: Can you still live alone, or is it time to explore other options?
Medical care decisions: What are your wishes, and who will carry them out?
Financial planning: How can your assets be protected?
Estate planning: Do you have all of the necessary documents (e.g. wills, trusts)?
Expectations: What is expected of parents, and what do they expect from us?
The next step is to prepare a personal data record. This document lists information that is needed in case parents become incapacitated or die. Here’s some information that should be included:
Financial information: Bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate holdings
Legal information: Wills, durable powers of attorney, healthcare directives
Funeral and burial plans: Prepayment information, final wishes
Medical information: Healthcare providers, medication, medical history
Insurance information: Policy numbers, company names
Advisor information: Names and phone numbers of any professional service providers
Location of other important records: Keys to safe-deposit boxes, real estate deeds
These are just some brief practical highlights. It’s all part of the bigger context of the Alliance Financial Care stewardship theme – God owns everything. Thank you for partnering in Building Churches to Transform Lives!
In this issue we have additional insights from two experts, Joseph Padilla from The Orchard Foundation and Jim Rightler, a Legacy Planner from The Alliance. I think you will find their thoughts helpful as you plan for the future.
Planning Your Summer Vacation
By Joseph Padilla, The Orchard Foundation
Are you headed to the beach, the mountains, or perhaps Israel for your summer vacation? Will you be flying, driving, or cruising to your destination? When we make vacation plans, it's common to think about things like:
What happens if the Lord calls me home while I'm traveling?
Is my will in good order?
Did I properly plan for my loved ones so they will be well taken care of if something happens to me?
This is a normal thought process and attorneys receive lots of calls in the late spring and early summer to draft wills for folks leaving on vacation.
Unfortunately, when most people draft their wills, they often fail to realize that writing their will should be a scriptural and prayerful process before it becomes a legal process. Often, we simply visit an attorney and have a legal document written without taking into consideration that God is the owner of all we have, and we are just His stewards. This means our will is the legal document that transfers stewardship of everything God has entrusted us. So, we should seek the Lord and consider His Word when writing our will.
Bequests Through Your Will
By Jim Rightler, The Alliance
Joe and Anna have been faithful supporters of our organization. They believe it is important to support and encourage our mission.
Joe: Several years ago, Anna and I decided to become part of the organization's mission. We believe that they are truly helping others. We think that it is important to partner with them to make a difference. For that reason, Anna and I have made gifts over the years to help others.
Anna: We wanted to do more than just make gifts. Joe and I have been careful over the years and have accumulated some resources. We plan to be generous with family, but we also have the ability to be generous with charity.
After talking it over, we decided to leave a bequest in our will. Our attorney took the simple language available from the organization and included a nice bequest. We are delighted that we will be helping others through them.
You also may want to make it easy and convenient to have a bequest included in your will.
Types of Bequests
There are a number of ways you can make a bequest, for instance, to The Alliance.
Specific Bequest. A specific bequest involves making a gift of a specific asset such as real estate, a car, other property or a gift for a specific dollar amount. For example, you may wish to leave your home or $10,000 with your specific bequest.
Percentage Bequest. Another kind of specific bequest involves leaving a specific percentage of your overall estate to charity. For example, you may wish to leave 10% of your estate to The Alliance.
Residual Bequest. A residual bequest is made from the balance of an estate after the will or trust has given away each of the specific bequests. A common residual bequest involves leaving a percentage of the residue of the estate to charity. For example, you may wish to leave 30% of the residue of your estate in your bequest.
Contingent Bequest. A contingent bequest is made to charity only if the purpose of the primary bequest cannot be met. For example, you could leave specific property, such as a vacation home, to a relative, but the bequest language could provide that if the relative is not alive at the time of your death, the vacation home will go to The Alliance.
A bequest is generally a revocable gift, which means it can be changed or modified at any time. You can choose to designate that a bequest be used for a general or specific purpose so you have the peace of mind knowing that your gift will be used as intended. Bequests are exempt from federal estate taxes. If you have a taxable estate, the estate tax charitable deduction may offset or eliminate estate taxes, resulting in a larger inheritance for your heirs.