Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Intentional Acts of Kindness

There are things people do that they really shouldn’t…like eat an entire sleeve of Chips Ahoy cookies while watching M*A*S*H reruns.  I have a ‘friend’ who did that once.  ;) 

Then, there are things people don’t do that they really should…like exercise 5 times a week or drink 8 glasses of water per day.  That same ‘friend’ thinks about doing both of these things quite often.

Then, there are those things we don’t do, but should do, yet never think about at all.  This is the category where estate planning comes into play.

Now, I’m sure Hallmark hasn't gotten wind of this yet, so don’t expect a card in the mail, but Happy National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  Doesn't really roll right off the tongue now does it?
I wonder if this is why people don’t really pay attention to estate planning.  It’s not, how do you say it…sexy.  But, it should be! 

Estate planning isn’t just for your grandparents anymore.  Whether you’re Young and Broke, Single and Employed, In a Relationship, Just Married, On the Parent Track, Heading for a Divorce, Planning to Re-marry, or Newly Widowed, you should be takin’ care of business no matter what age you are.

I would even say the business of estate planning is one of the most intentional acts of kindness that someone can show to the people and charities that they care the most about.

We always hear about Random Acts of Kindness.  Why can’t we coin the term Intentional Acts of Kindness?  In fact, intentional may be one of my new favorite words.  I love it when people are intentional.  It shows thought and planning and typically great detail and care. 

One of our donors, Elmira Davis, was intentional.  She recently passed away and didn't even live in Grant County anymore.  But, she never forgot about her old hometown.  And, she never forgot about the Community Foundation.  Now we will never forget her.  Elmira intentionally did one really wonderful thing for us…she named the Foundation as a 50% beneficiary of a gift annuity that she held.

One piece of her estate pie was designated to the Foundation.  Not the whole pie or even half of the pie, just a slice.  But, many non-profits don’t often get to enjoy dessert, so a slice of any size is a blessing for which we are forever grateful.

So, no, Hallmark isn’t ever going to celebrate Estate Planning Week.  And, yes, the whole idea of estate planning will probably always rank up there with broccoli, doing laundry, and winter.  But, intentionally planning now so that those you care about can have a better future later is utterly selfless...and sexy.  

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