February 2004 "Helping Ourselves"
PLANNING FOR WEALTH AND SECURITY
By attorneys Jennifer and Jeff Hawkins
Consider this wish list:
· new media resources for our schools;
· new nursery facilities for a local church congregation;
· enhanced diagnostic or physical therapy equipment for our hospital; and
· improved recreational resources for our senior citizens.
Your local schools, churches, hospitals and other community institutions have these wish lists. Unfortunately, government dollars are drying up and the wish list items are not getting cheaper. It is high time that we stop looking beyond our communities for help and consider how we may start helping ourselves. Charitable planning is a great way to help ourselves.
Much of our community’s charitable energy has focused on academic scholarships. Scholarships serve noble functions, but simple economics limit scholarship usefulness to the community.
The Indiana State University website indicates that it costs $10,618 per year to pay for a full-time student’s tuition and housing costs right now. It may cost an additional $5,000-$6,000 for meals. The cost of books may vary wildly. Therefore, a scholarship to send a student to a state-supported college and cover all of these expenses could cost more than $15,000 every year. A scholarship fund year must have more than $64,000 invested in the bank before the student’s first college year to pay a full scholarship for just one student.
Scholarships serve great purposes in society, but they often drain money from our community permanently. A student may appreciate a scholarship, but he or she will probably not move back home and support the community. Instead the student will probably take that valuable education to some other community and the student’s home community will have lost its $64,000 investment forever.
Our community can invest more wisely. If that same $64,000 would be invested in an educational foundation for the benefit of a local school corporation, the school corporation could buy one new state-of-the-art computer for its students each year for the foreseeable future. That kind of investment in a school would benefit many students for years to come and our community would be enriched permanently.
Many church goers understand that a 10% weekly tithe of their income in a collection plate is a common way to support a church. Just imagine things what our community could accomplish if every person assigned 10% or more of his or her estate to pass to a local, charitable foundation after his death! If 10 people would each leave a 10% gift to a charitable foundation, and if each person’s estate would contain a house and money worth $100,000 or more, the charity would enjoy a $100,000 benefit! Ask a school superintendent that kind of money could do for our children in a properly established educational foundation.
At least two things are certain in life: we will all die someday and none of us can take our wealth with us. Every investment in our community helps and each of us can play a big part. Let’s look forward to a great future together as a community that helps itself.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE. ALWAYS CONSULT AN ATTORNEY DIRECTLY BEFORE RELYING UPON THIS ARTICLE OR CHANGING AN ESTATE PLAN.
© 2004 by HAWKINS LAW PC, Estate, Trust & Business Attorneys. All rights reserved.