Letters to the Editor - April 9

April 09, 2011

A will is an opportunity to give to charity

To the editor:

Every year, nonprofit organizations receive bequests from the estates of deceased friends and donors. These gifts are a tremendous benefit, and nonprofit organizations rely on such gifts as they move into the future. April is the Community Foundation’s “Write a Will Month.” When you revise or create your will for the first time, I hope you will include a gift to the charity of your choice.

As you consider an estate gift, it might be useful to know some of the bequest options you have. For example, you can make your bequest as an unrestricted gift. This permits the charity to use your bequest where it is needed most.

A second type of bequest is designated or restricted to a specific purpose. For example, a gift might be earmarked for a program you feel keenly about or for capital improvements. You could even designate a bequest to establish an endowment.

A third kind would be a combination of the first two. That is, part of the bequest might be used as the board sees fit and the restricted part for the predetermined purpose.

Once you’ve decided on the kind of bequest, you must determine how the bequest will be identified. You have at least three options.

First, you can designate a specific amount or item. For example, you could bequeath a vacation home or certain securities or a set amount of money.

Second, you can name the charity to receive a percentage of or all of the residue of your estate — the amount that is left after the bills and specific bequests have been made.

Finally, you could name your favorite charity as a contingent beneficiary to receive that part of your estate that would have passed to another person had he or she been living. For example, a will can indicate that everything is to go to your spouse unless your spouse predeceases you — in which case the assets, or part of them, could be assigned to the charity.

As you proceed with your estate plans, I strongly encourage you to inform the charity about any bequest decisions affecting them. This will help ensure that they honor any restrictions you have placed in your bequest. It also helps their long-range planning efforts if they know where future resources are being directed.  

Dr. Mitesh B. Kothari
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Community Foundation of Washington County MD, Inc.

Letter claiming evolutionists are atheists was inaccurate

To the editor:

Philip Snider made some interesting comments in his April Fool’s Day letter to the editor. Please allow me to address a few: 1). He prefers snake oil to evolution, implying his own belief is false. 2). Biologists manufacture facts. 3). Evolutionists are atheists. 4). Evolutionists are pro-choice.

First, I’ll accept Snider’s argument for No. 1.

Second, Snider’s evidence that biologists manufacturing facts consists of a previous misrepresentation of a pig’s tooth as a human fossil is referring to the so-called “Nebraska Man.”

True, this assertion was a mistake. But paleontologists recognized the error and the author retracted his assertion five years later. The point is that science is self-correcting, a rare practice in other fields.  

Next, it is inaccurate to call evolutionists atheists. Some are, some aren’t. I don’t know the breakdown, but I know both types.

Finally, Snider says evolutionists are pro-choice — again, a misrepresentation. Some yes, some no. Snider cites the second law of thermodynamics saying, “all systems in the real world tend to go downhill toward decreased complexity. No exceptions.”

If that were so, then embryos could not become babies, seeds could not become trees, and thoughts could not become letters.  

I’m not certain how he made the leap from evolution to abortion. Abortion is a religious and ethical issue for which evolution says little. The argument is about when an embryo becomes a person (when the soul enters the embryo). Science does not address this issue.

Larry Zaleski

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