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Trustworthy Service
Before, During, and End-of-Life
By: Jerrod Songy

   Whether you are a long-time Adventist or a brand-new member of the church, my hope is that you have heard (or will hear) about all the Ministry Departments that your local Conference offers for individual and family support. For whatever reasons, it seems that the Planned Giving and Trust Services Department is one of the last to be discovered. Worse yet, sometimes the Trust Department is spoken of with hurt feelings and/or a critical attitude.
   Only having served in this department for 3 years, I am unable to confirm or deny any unfortunate stories that may (or may not) have taken place in times past. What I can confirm by personal experience, and testimony, is the heart and service with which I, as well as my Director and colleagues, serve the membership to-date. There are many wonderful stories I could share, but one that begs to be told is of a sweet Adventist woman named Sylvia, her dear husband, and son.
   Sylvia was married to a man named Roy, and together they had only one child. As their son grew up, and throughout their marriage, Sylvia and Roy held different faiths. Although Roy was not a Seventh-day Adventist he always supported Sylvia in her Christian walk, and often accompanied her to all the church functions in which she would serve and support.

   Sylvia and Roy’s son took his own path in life as many youth/young adults do. Regrettably, his decisions would lead to a time apart from his family and as an adult his path brought him to a prison sentence. While in prison, tragedy struck further. Dear Sylvia passed away, leaving only Roy. We as a Department had worked with Sylvia and Roy for many years, but it was Sylvia that had the Adventist roots. What should we do now?
   We did what Jesus would. We came alongside her family and church family with prayers, love, and support. I myself had joined the Trust Department shortly after Sylvia’s passing, and only got to hear stories about her great faith and service. However, I did get to meet Roy. Roy was a bit rough around the edges you might say, but a child of God nonetheless, and I considered it an honor to serve and minister to him going forward.

   For reasons God only knows, tragedy struck again when Roy suffered a major stroke and was taken to the hospital via ambulance. When I visited him at the hospital he recognized me, but was hardly able to communicate. A few weeks prior to this event Roy had told me that he was considering some changes to his Trust, specifically to allow for his son to inherit the home property and to have a place to live when he got out of prison. Unfortunately, Roy never came home from the hospital and we never signed any updates.
   As Roy’s Estate Plan stood, a percentage of all assets would go to his son, to Sylvia’s former church, and to the Texas Conference, thereby splitting the Real Property into 3 shares. Without having signed any updates, what could be done with Roy’s verbal wishes for his son to receive the Home 100%? I can’t help but smile, and praise God, to tell you that my Director, working with the local church, the son, and an Attorney, was able to legally meet Roy’s wishes and still satisfy the distribution provisions of the Estate!

   As of this writing, Sylvia’s church has received a gift-check helping support the local needs to a tune of nearly $100,000 dollars. The Texas Conference has also benefited from a similar Estate gift. To top it all off, Roy and Sylvia’s son has finished serving his time, been released from prison, and is currently living in the home, that was his parents, and is now titled in the name of a Trust established for his benefit.  Not only the home, but additional assets have been designated to the Trustee for the aid, support, and care of the son as he learns, grows, and by God’s grace, heals in the years to come.

Jerrod presents an estate gift at Sylvia's Church in Texas

   There are other stories that I could share, but… What if the next time you run into someone who hasn’t heard of the Planned Giving and Trust Services Department, or hasn’t yet heard anything good about it, what if you shared this story with them? If you would do that, I believe not only could God be glorified, for the love and service shown to His children, but it might also present greater opportunities for ministry and service to families just like Sylvia’s!
   We are humbled, honored, and grateful to provide a service and a ministry to your family through all stages of life. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, or someone you know, if you’d like to share your own encouraging story, or even share your concerns, please reach out to us via Office Phone #817-783-2223 Ext. 2105, via E-mail: trust@txsda.org, or via our Website:
www.texasgiving.org

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...
What is a Will and Why Do You Need One?
Ever hear a story about a famous person who died without a will? Stars like Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Bob Marley and even accomplished public figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln all died with no written will.  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.
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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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