May 21, 2021
As May flows into June, we take a moment to pause and remember those who have sacrificed much for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Here at GNPI, thinking of sacrifice often turns our minds to you. Many of you have made great sacrifices so that “... the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s glory, as the water covers the sea.” Your faithful giving is making a difference all over the world. It’s truly humbling, and we thank you.
“But how do we continue this legacy of giving?” This is a question we’re often asked, so in partnership with CDF Capital, we’d like to share the following:
When we plan our estates, we tend to make careful decisions regarding our investment accounts, real estate, businesses we own, and other major assets. But it is also important to consider the smaller things in our household. Experience has taught us that more disagreements among family members occur over items of lesser dollar value than major assets, because these often include personal items that hold memories and sentimental value.
Dad’s tools, Grandma’s desk, and Mom’s wedding ring—all have a value beyond their cash worth. Some may carry special meaning for specific family members. Just as you select gifts for each person on special occasions, you can choose special items for specific individuals to receive when you can no longer use them.
Begin with a household inventory: jewelry, tools, appliances, furniture, collections, artwork, and memorabilia are typically included. Consider taking photographs of room settings and more expensive or unique possessions with details important to an item’s value.
What if there was a way to include instructions in your estate plan for the distribution of these items? There is. A Letter of Instructions (we like to call it a love letter to your family) can be written and placed with your important legal papers—directing your personal representative or trustee to distribute specific identified items to specific individuals. The Letter, as well as specific cherished or valuable items, can be referenced in your Will or Trust to validate its existence and confirm that it expresses your desires.
Be sure to check with your legal counsel to determine any specific directions in state law regarding the format or signatures which may be required. Even if your state does not recognize your letter as legally binding, you have made your desires known and encouraged their fulfillment.
How We Can Help
It is important to seek competent legal counsel to make certain that your will or trust is up-to-date and expresses your current desires. However, the distribution of personal property and sharing your faith and love with your family can be done in your own handwriting. CDF has prepared a simple format which you can use to begin writing your own love letter to your family. You can download it below.