Your week is almost here. Are you ready?
Since 2008, the third week of October has been recognized as National Estate Planning Awareness Week (NEPAW) thanks to the hard work and dedication of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC).
Their goal: to help the public understand what estate planning is and why it’s so vital—a topic you probably touch on in some way 365 days a year. Thanks to NAEPC, you get a helping hand for 7 of those. Your donor conversations and gift planning messaging can enjoy a boost with the national spotlight shining on estate planning for a week (this year is Oct 16-22).
So don’t miss out! Take advantage of the attention NEPAW brings by providing your supporters with focused estate planning education and the tools they need to get started.
Debunk Your Donors’ Reasons for Not Creating a Will
Wills are NOT just for the wealthy. According to Caring.com’s 2023 Estate Planning and Wills Survey, 35% of Americans say they don’t have an estate plan because they do not have enough assets to leave anyone.
During NEPAW: Remind your supporters that there are reasons for everyone to have a will, no matter their tax bracket. Some talking points:
Do they have children? They’ll need a will to ensure that their children are cared for by the people they trust should they pass.
Do they have assets? If they have a savings plan through an employer, a car that’s paid for, a checking or savings account, or items that hold meaning for them—they have assets. Having a will ensures these assets go to the people or causes they choose.
Do they know who would make decisions for them in the case of a health emergency? They can put this in writing before the situation arises. Part of estate planning is naming a durable power of attorney for health care to oversee medical care and make decisions if they are unable to do so.
Do they have causes they care deeply about? A gift left in a will allows them to continue to make a difference even when they’re gone.
Creating a will is NOT hard. Fifteen percent of Americans say they don’t have a will because they don’t know how to create one.
During NEPAW: Ease fears about the difficulty of creating a will by providing education, tools and experts to help your donors. Host a seminar with local estate planning lawyers, provide free will planning kits, or create short videos outlining the simple, step-by-step process of getting started creating a will.
Creating a will is NOT expensive. Anticipating high legal fees, 14% of Americans say they don’t have a will because it costs too much.
During NEPAW: While some people hire an attorney to assist with the will-creation process, there are low- and no-cost options available. Consider offering your supporters access to a free online will planning tool such as Giving Docs.
Along with tackling barriers to creating a will, educate your supporters on what you mean when you say, “estate planning.”
Estate Planning Equals More Than Just a Will
We throw the term “estate planning” around a lot and may even use it interchangeably (and incorrectly) with “will.” But let’s be clear—an effective estate plan consists of more than just a will. These 4 key documents are considered essential for an estate plan to be complete:
- Last Will and Testament and/or Trust
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
- Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Living Will or Advanced Directive
Help your supporters take control of their estate plan by explaining these legal documents and how to get started creating them.
Legalese With Love
During NEPAW, remind your supporters that creating a will is more than just a legal to-do. It is an important way to extend their love, care and generosity to family, friends and the causes they care about.
NAEPC has tons of resources for you to make the most out of the week. Access a “Quick Start” kit, sample emails, a press release, videos and more on their website. Good luck!