Wills Clinic Helps Liberty UMC Members With Their Estate Plan


The Georgia United Methodist Foundation offers Wills Clinics to help get your estate plan in order. In this Q&A, Macon-based Liberty UMC Senior Pastor Rev. Tony G. Crosby shares how this free educational program was a real benefit to Liberty UMC and its members.

Why did Liberty UMC host a Wills Clinic?
Dr. Rick Lanford (GUMF Regional Vice President) invited us to host this event with one of our members, James Russell Lipford Jr., a CPA. (See 2021 Retirement Tax Planning Tips article). Our goals were to provide an opportunity for people to learn about estate planning so that their wishes are honored and to present the workshop in-person and online through Zoom to maximize participation.

What challenges do people face when it comes to estate planning?
The key challenges are procrastination and facing the idea of our mortality. In our young adulthood, we tend to believe we will live forever. As we age, we resist acknowledging that one day we will no longer be here and that we will need to make directives that our family can follow when we are gone.

With the pandemic, why is it more important now than ever to have an estate plan?
God never promises us tomorrow. We all know someone who has died of the coronavirus, and we can only hope they had their affairs in order. We should try to do the same.

What were your key takeaways?
I didn’t realize how intentional the planning needs to be to circumvent the variety of family circumstances that can create obstacles to having your wishes carried out. I also learned that the Church needs to be more intentional about teaching these things—even beyond this workshop—that we should know about it when people plan to give to the Church in their will.

What feedback did you receive?
Everyone enjoyed the class, and I believe people will be taking action due to their attendance. I know I will. Member Charles Cheek shared, “For many years, I have needed to update my will and create a living will and power of attorney. Several life changes and COVID made this more urgent, but I never put estate planning on my to-do list. This seminar produced action items for me, which resulted in my meeting with an estate planning attorney. The forms provided helped me to organize the needed information. Soon I will have completed this critical life administration task.”

Why should members consider leaving a legacy gift to the Church?
I hope members will consider the Church that they loved and gave to in their lifetime as a worthy recipient of the treasures they leave behind when they leave this world. Just as their witness of faithful living can leave a legacy to follow, a legacy gift can provide the resources to equip those who come behind them.

If you would like to schedule a Wills Clinic to help your members get their estate plans in order, please contact Dr. Rick Lanford, Regional Vice President (South Georgia), at 478-256-7130 or rlanford@gumf.org, or Nancy Young, Vice President of Development (North Georgia), at 678-708-6601 or nyoung@gumf.org