Family First: How estate planning can help you leave a legacy in your community

This blog post is the fifth in a series of stories about how I help my clients protect their family members and assets through my services as an estate planning attorney. If you spot any similarities between these experiences and your own, please know that you can always call on me for assistance.

At the Law Office of Michael G. Calogero, our main focus is the well-being of you and your family.

We always work toward carrying out your wishes from a legal and practical level – whether it’s giving your daughter power of attorney so she can take care of your medical needs, or ensuring your assets get passed down to particular family members.

But sometimes, clients want to leave gifts for what I call their ‘super-extended family’ – their community. This could come in the form of a charitable donation to a church, beloved charity, or organization.  

Leave a Legacy

Remembering your community in your Last Will and Testament

When I ride my bike on the Mississippi River levee trail past St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Destrehan, I always think about Ms. Ethel (named changed for the purposes of this blog). Our work together to secure her Power of Attorney, Last Will and Testament, Living Will, and ultimately – succession – made sure she could leave a legacy to her spiritual home.

Making donations in your estate planning

Ms. Ethel came to my office with one of her grandchildren to get her estate planning started. I was happy to walk her through the process and go over the smallest of details as we sifted through the options. Soft-spoken and wise, Ms. Ethel seemed to delight in the idea of bequeathing her estate to the younger generation. She left assets to her grandchildren, of course. But Ms. Ethel was a woman of deep faith. It was clear that that faith had helped her through profound loss in her life. Ms. Ethel lost four husbands, and each of her children had died as well. But her faith and her church community cared for her. That’s what carried her through life’s tough times. Ms. Ethel still relished in her adoring grandchildren, and she had a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving for her family and community. It made perfect sense that she would want to remember her church in her estate planning efforts.

Getting the estate plan just right

After three visits and numerous revisions, we dotted every “i” and crossed every “t.” Ms. Ethel never missed going to church and singing in the choir on Sundays. It gave her such joy, especially in the midst of her grief. Assets that had not been bequeathed to family would go to her church of 50 years. Her Last Will and Testament was then executed, witnessed, and notarized. Ms. Ethel’s desire to help her faith community made it clear she wasn’t just another client. She was an angel among us. I am a better person and lawyer for having served her.

“Caring and excellent customer service. Takes time to work out details and very knowledgeable.”

– Client Testimonial

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