Where There’s A Will There’s A Way To Build A Thriving Future
2020 has been a year of uncertainty and change, with everything from physical distancing to mask wearing to Zoom work, school, and parties becoming our new day-to-day. Despite the current disruptions, many people have been inspired to re-imagine their future – and the future of their communities.
“We’ve experienced an uptick in clients requesting estate planning services since COVID hit,” said Ken Ford, Attorney with Morton McGoldrick in Tacoma. “COVID has led people to really start thinking about community and the people in their lives. It’s a good feeling to know that things are set in motion when uncertainty arises.”
It’s also a good feeling, according to GTCF’s Senior Director of Philanthropic Services Evelyn Ryberg, when people realize the potential of their own estates, “Often, people get so excited about what they can do with their estate plans that we also end up talking about what they can do during their lifetimes.”
Estate planning is an opportunity for people of all income levels to make a difference for the future. Ken Ford observed, “There is a misconception that estate planning is only for the rich. But there’s so much flexibility involved that whatever your goals and interests are, we can do that.” He added that the cost and time required depend on the complexity of the estate.
GTCF fundholders Ralph and Linda Drews appreciated that flexibility when reflecting on the impact their own estate plan could make. “Both of us grew up in fairly poor families with no chance of going to college,” Ralph said. And yet, thanks to scholarships, persistence, and hard work, both graduated college and have retired from long, successful careers, with a strong desire to leave a legacy.
After the Drews’ attorney guided them to GTCF, Ryberg began asking questions about what was important to them, “and that’s when the onion started to unpeel,” said Linda. They learned about opportunities beyond the four-year degree, which convinced them to broaden their scope. Their legacy fund provides support for youth organizations and scholarships for “kids who are just like we were: They want to become the first ones in their families to go to college but they just have no support or anyone who’s pushing them.”
The Drews like what they see when they think about the hopeful future their legacy represents: Better, more fulfilling lives for goal-oriented young people they’ll never even meet. These two world travelers, self-described planners who’ve “kept a spreadsheet since 1982,” just needed to learn what was possible in order to build a plan that was meaningful to them.
Even with the necessary physical distancing requirements during the pandemic, it is still possible to conduct estate planning right now. “A lot of things have been streamlined in the process,” Ken shared, “so we can really meet clients where they’re at during these crazy times—via Zoom or phone call or email.”
No matter the size of someone’s estate or their unique vision for making a difference far into the future, Ken added, without batting an eye, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
- GTCF Planned Giving Will and Estate Planning Guides
- Lorraine DelPrado, Principal of del Prado Philanthropy and Vice President of Thompson & Associates, shares her “Perspectives on Leaving a Legacy”
- Philanthropist, nonprofit entrepreneur, and legacy mentor Tracy Gary’s “Inspired Philanthropy” Guide outlines how to evaluate your advisor team and communicate your wishes to them
- “Unlocking Your Client’s Hidden Philanthropist”, Leave10.org