Letters to the Editor - April 16

April 16, 2011

Making a will can ensure wishes come true

To the editor:

Toss a coin in a fountain and make a wish. If you’re thinking about your future and what would happen should you die, you might say: “I wish that my brother, Tom, would handle my estate.” Or perhaps, “I wish Aunt Etta would take care of my daughter.” Or maybe, “I wish that any estate taxes would be kept to a minimum.” You might also say, “I wish to give a portion of my estate to ABC Charity and other charities I care about.”

Wishes, wishes, wishes — that’s all they are. And tossing coins into a wishing well won’t help. The only way you can be sure of these things — to change them from wishes to certainties — is to prepare a will or other appropriate estate-planning document.

A will is a way to make your wishes come true. In it, you list what you want to happen: Who will represent you through the process of probate? Who will care for any minor children? Who will look after any trusts? Who will receive your estate? What charities will benefit from your estate?

A will, properly prepared, lets you sleep better at night. It makes your family rest better, too.  

Wishing wells might be fun for some things, but not when it comes to estate planning. When you’re dealing with your estate assets and various responsibilities, it’s far better to “toss a coin” toward a qualified attorney who can help you do things right. Granted, it will take more than a penny or two, but the certainty and satisfaction you receive will far outweigh any cost.

The Community Foundation of Washington County can provide you with helpful information about making a will. It also can provide material on basic estate planning and ways you can use planned giving techniques to benefit your charitable interests, as well as yourself.  

Spence Perry                     
Vice-chairmain, board of trustees
Community Foundation of Washington County MD, Inc.


Voters hoping for ‘change’ instead got ‘chains’

To the editor:

Certain words have special meaning when they stir our emotions or help us relate to something that we desire, like the word “hope”— a look forward with reasonable confidence.

We heard a word over and over a couple of years ago that had a very hopeful ring to it, but it has a neutral tone in that it could play out in one way or another. The word is “change.”  When used without clarification, it is difficult to know whether it is meant to be positive or negative. If a situation is already perceived as negative and someone promises change, it is thought to offer hope for something better. But since the actual definition is in the mind of the speaker, it might not convey the same meaning to the hearers.

As we know, Barack Obama used the word “change” throughout his presidential campaign. But there is a similar-sounding word that more accurately describes what has occurred. It is “chains” — a word that can mean bondage; that which restrains someone or something. It appears that the change that so many had hoped for when they elected him president has instead put our financial status, our culture, our very lives in bondage by increasing our dependence on foreign nations, corroding our moral standards and placing upon every citizen a burden of debt that can never be repaid and under which future generations will suffer grave consequences.

Change can be good, but only when the outcome is truly beneficial. The change that we are now experiencing is overriding our constitution and turning our country upside down. The voice of the people is being silenced by those who purport to “know what is best” for America. I believe they want to change America so it is no longer recognizable as a sovereign nation and its citizens are no longer at liberty to engage in government of the people, for the people and by the people. Is this “change to chains” the outcome that voters had hoped for?  

Donna Staggers

The Herald-Mail Articles