August 27, 2021

Investing with Faith / Kimberly Pohovey

Will in place offers piece of mind and control of decisions

Kimberly PohoveyWhile August turns our thoughts to back-to-school time, the waning days of summer and our anticipation of hopefully cooler fall months, few probably equate it with writing a will. Nevertheless, August is designated as “National Make a Will Month,” and like the aforementioned, it focuses us on times of transition in our life.

A last will and testament is a legal document that allows you to plan for what happens to your estate when you pass away. Although it allows you to control these decisions and offers you and your family peace of mind, almost two-thirds of Americans do not have a will.

My husband Mark and I married in 1993. A couple years later, we visited an attorney and drafted a simple, what is referred to as a “sweetheart” will. We did so at the urging of our parents, and I am grateful for that counsel so early in our marriage.

In 2005, my husband battled colon cancer. Thankfully he survived, but his situation became dire at one point.

Thinking back to that time, I appreciated that we had already had a will in place should the unthinkable occur. However, we realized that we had never updated the will after the birth of our children.

Mark’s near-death experience reminded us that we needed to once again visit an attorney to add legal guardians for our then 4- and 8-year-old children. These life transitions called for a regular review of our will. We also realized that by that time, we had accrued more assets.

In addition to naming our children as beneficiaries of our estate, we understood that accumulated assets would allow us to consider charitable giving upon our passing.

Mark and I have a scholarship fund we established at our former parish in memory of our son, who passed away at 3 months of age. We updated our will to reflect a gift of impact to that scholarship fund upon our deaths—one that reflects our Catholic values, our commitment to Catholic education, and a lasting memorial to our beloved son.

Your last will and testament should be a lasting reflection of who you are and what you value. When you die without a will, you leave these important decisions and opportunities to a local court. Not having a will in place makes it more difficult for your family to carry out your wishes and settle your estate. Probate can be a long and expensive process.

Stating your intent through a will saves time, money and stress for your loved ones. Making or updating your will today allows you to name the executor of your choice. It enables you to decide who benefits from your assets and property. You can designate legal guardians to care for your minor children. Having a will in place enables you to care for your loved ones and lowers the potential for family disputes. And finally, a will allows you to leave a legacy gift to a charitable organization for which you are passionate.

Throughout your life transitions, having a will in place can offer you peace of mind. Our Catholic Community Foundation staff can provide valuable resources for your consideration in writing a will and help you plan a charitable gift to a Catholic parish, school or ministry that is dear to your heart. Please contact us at for more information. We are happy to walk this journey with you.

(Kimberly Pohovey is the director of major and planned gifts for the archdiocese. Tax or legal information provided herein is not intended as tax or legal advice. Always consult with your legal, tax or financial advisors before implementing any gift plan.)

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