By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
July 12, 2018
Billy Graham and How Estate Planning Allows You to Say a Final Goodbye
People engage in estate planning for numerous reasons. They want to protect their life’s work. They want to make sure their loved ones are well taken care of. They want to retain some control over their assets even after they die. They want to prevent arguments and fighting over who gets what.
But your will and estate plan can allow you to do even more than that. It can enable you to speak to your loved ones one last time.
How so? People tend to think of estate planning documents as dry and business-oriented, with simple statements like “To so-and-so I leave such-and-such.” But there’s no rule that says the documents can’t also be a kind of conversation, especially your will.
In fact, that’s exactly how Billy Graham used his last will and testament.
The Last Sermon of Billy Graham
When the world-famous Christian evangelist died back in February at the age of 99, he’d already said quite a lot over the course of his life and to quite a lot of people – including US presidents. You could probably make a pretty good argument that nothing else needed to be said. His life spoke loudly enough.
But Mr. Graham was never a man at a loss for words or one who could pass up an opportunity to espouse his beliefs. His Last Will and Testament is no exception to this. In fact, Ken Garfield, who has published numerous books about Billy Graham, calls it his “last sermon.”
Here are just a few quotes from the text of the will:
- “I urge all who shall read this document to read and study the Scriptures daily and to trust only in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.”
- “When you read this I will be safely with Jesus in Paradise.”
- “Whether I have handled things properly or not, we will have to await the judgement at the Judgement Seat of Christ when all things will be revealed.”
- “We have tried to use our material blessings for the glory of God.”
- “I have done my best before the Lord and I have confidence in all of you that you will consider that you are only trustees of what I have left.”
He’s preaching. He’s sharing his values. He’s answering critics. He’s directing others about how he wants them to act.
All within the context of his will.
Florida Estate Planning and Your Final Goodbye
Now, most people probably aren’t going to have a will that sounds like Mr. Graham’s. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your estate plan to talk to your loved ones one last time.
You can share stories or beliefs that explain why you’re doing what you’re doing. You can address perceived wrongs that you were never able to address in life.
The point is, a will does not have to be a dry, straight-forward, impersonal document. You can make it feel like you if that’s something important to you.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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