Communicate your legacy
What you need to create or update your will
“He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
One of the best ways to steward the resources entrusted to you is to have an up-to-date will. Discover practical tools to help you create a will that reflects your personal values, provides for your loved ones, and blesses the charities close to your heart.
Get Help in Person
Get Help Online
If you decide to use a lawyer to create, update, or review your will, you’ll want to find an attorney who shares your values and is knowledgeable about estate planning. Here’s how to find a trusted estate planning attorney:
Christian Legal Society. Search for a referral to an attorney in your area from the Christian Legal Society, a network of attorneys committed to acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their God (Micah 6:8).
Your Pastor. Pastors are connected to a wide network of people which may include an estate planning attorney. Even if your pastor doesn’t know an attorney, they can likely ask others for a trusted referral to send you.
Use one of these common ways to significantly increase your charitable impact through your will and clearly communicate your values:
• Add a child named “Charity.” Some families treat charitable organizations like an additional child. For example, if a family has three children, they might add a fourth child named “Charity” and divide the assets in their will into four equal parts. Each of their children would receive 25%, and the remaining 25% would be divided among their favorite charitable organizations.
• Percentage. Others commit a percentage of their estate to the charitable organizations they love, dividing the remainder among their heirs.
• Cap. Some families decide to “cap” their children’s inheritance, leaving the rest of their assets to charity. This approach is used when the parents want to provide a modest gift to bless their children and eliminate concerns of creating dependence or giving too much too soon.
• Update an existing will. An attorney can add, delete, or change an item in your will with an additional statement called a “codicil.” Here’s an example: “I give, devise, and bequeath twenty- five percent (25%) of my residuary estate to [charity name] whose address is [city, state, zip code].” Like a will, a codicil must be dated, signed, and witnessed.
Sample language for including a gift in your will is available here.