When my wife and I started to build a family, years ago, we attended a seminar at another Houston church concerning the need to include a will in our financial planning. Our first reaction was to think “it’s too soon” to start thinking about dying so we hesitated to have one prepared. While preparing a will may cause one to reflect on one’s mortality, that is not the purpose of preparing a will. Actually, a will prepares one for the future. When my father died suddenly, we recognized that a will was a critical ingredient in planning for the future. We promptly drafted wills. In crossing the bridge of estate planning we encountered another challenge, keeping the will current. Things change, families grow, economic conditions fluctuate, and aspirations and charitable interests evolve so wills need periodic review.
A will is an integral part of an estate plan, in fact, it may be contended that a will is the mortar that holds the estate plan together or, alternatively, the will may be the only plan necessary.
There are several good reasons for having a will prepared. Please bear with me as I provide some of those reasons:
- May mitigate taxes on the estate. The economic challenges facing the government have given rise to a discussion of increased taxes on estates.
- May provide financial security to one’s spouse and children, where the absence of a will could place the disposition of assets before a court.
- May provide for a gift to the church that will assist in meeting its future needs.
- May provide for the preservation of assets, such as business ownership and the subsequent disposition of those assets as one directs.
- May provide for changes in one’s financial condition over the years. Receiving an unanticipated financial windfall, for example, can be provided for in a will and protected for one’s heirs.
I believe that most of us want to provide for our church and its future health. At First Methodist there are several ways to do that and I will be writing about those methods in the future but today the subject is wills and The First Methodist Church of Houston Foundation. The Foundation, as a matter of policy, invests the proceeds of assets left to its care for the future protection of the church. The indenture creating this charitable and educational trust sets out its purpose in part 2 paragraph 11 as “To promote, provide for and assist in the management , operation, control and expansion of First Methodist Church of Houston.” To accomplish that purpose the seven trustees of the Foundation select, after careful evaluation, an investment firm to manage the assets left to the Foundation with the objective of preserving the corpus and providing for a secure income stream. As needed to meet its stated purpose of assistance to the church, the Foundation may lend money to the church at 0% interest. The path that affords a preservation of the original corpus and thus provides for having funds in the future is the First Methodist Church of Houston Foundation.
Please use the online response card link below to receive additional information about wills and bequests to the church. We want to be sure that we provide the information necessary for you to make an enlightened decision that will allow you to satisfy your desire to provide for the future of First Methodist Houston.
God bless you!
Allen R. Houk
Director, Fund Development