From Uzziel Maldonado:

I hope you all had a great 4th of July. This holiday is usually filled with family, food, fun, fireworks, flags, and songs about freedom. We are glad to have a day off of work and proud to take part in picnics and parades.  As Christians we thank God for providing a land where we are at liberty to exercise our faith as we see fit!  It is also a day we stop to admire the wisdom, foresight, courage and course of the Founding Fathers and their contribution to the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the US Constitution (1787). As I took time to consider these men, I began to wonder how they applied their foresight in their personal lives.  Did the Founding Fathers have an estate plan, a plan to care for their person and property after death?  They were risking life and limb after all.  Did they each have a Last Will and Testament?  If so, would they update it?

I was amazed to find that each of the Founding Fathers had and would update their Last Will and Testament!  I found Benjamin Franklin, the penman of “a penny saved is a penny earned,” the most interesting.  He did well at saving and growing his estate in life, but his greater enjoyment was giving it away!  

In his Will he forgave debts, gave homes and lands, paintings and books, money and businesses to his family, posterity, charity, friends and strangers. His Will was written in 1788 and was updated in 1789. In his update he stated, “I wish to be useful even after death, if possible in forming and advancing other young men, that may be serviceable to their country…” Thus Franklin decided to  give back to the cities that helped him succeed, namely, the city of Boston and Philadelphia, and their states, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, respectively. He did so by setting up a trust that would accrue interest and grow for two centuries!

Franklin died April 17, 1790. The first half was distributed in 1870 and the remainder reached maturity a hundred years later in 1970! Ellen White says, “if by our example we aid others in the development of good principles, we give them power to do good.  In their turn they exert the same beneficial influence over others. Thus hundreds and thousands are helped by our unconscious influence. The true follower of Christ strengthens all good with whom he comes in contact.” Patriarchs and Kings Pg. 348.

Unfortunately, most Americans (including Christians) do not have an estate plan. Doing so is not only our patriotic heritage, but it can save from unnecessary frustration and be a boom to others. And remember, updating is just as important. So which part of Franklin's legacy did you think is most influential, his example or his bequest?

Are you curious to know what Benjamin Franklin's Will stated?
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How To Prepare Yourself For
A Good End of Life
My parents lived good lives and expected to die good deaths. They exercised daily, ate plenty of fruits and vegetables, and kept, in their well-organized files, boilerplate advance health directives. But when he was 79, my beloved and seemingly vigorous father came up from his basement study, put on the kettle for tea, and had a devastating stroke.  Read More...
Checklist for Updating your Will and Estate Plan
Perhaps you don't know where to start, but we can help. We've created a document to facilitate whether or not you need to update your Will. Click here to view.
The NAD and GC Planned Giving and Trust Services have released a podcast series entitled Great Giving. Listen to the podcast with host Scot Coppock as he interviews various experts in the field. Each interview is about 2-3 minutes in length. They answer the most commonly asked questions in estate planning.

Click here for audio-only version
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Important Documents to Have...

Is It time To Update Your Will?

  • Have you moved to Texas and need to create new documents?
  • Do you need to name a legal guardian for your minor children on your Will?
  • Are your children grown and financially independent and you would like to change the distribution of your estate?
  • Do you need to add or remove beneficiaries on your Will?
  • Would you like to include a gift to the Lord's Work in your Will?
If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, then it may be time to review and update your Will.

Contact the Texas Conference Trust Department to update your documents at 817-790-2255 ext. 2105 or reply to this email.
Free Download: "A Christian Guide to Estate Planning"
by the Texas Conference Trust Department.
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