Since it’s estimated that half of adult Americans don’t have a will, it’s important for us to reach these folks with planned giving messages aimed at addressing their concerns. Some ideas for those with no will include:
1. Talking about gifts of retirement plan (and other) assets that pass outside a will, by beneficiary designation.
2. Describing general estate planning steps, including establishment of powers of attorney and creation of a will.
3. Using the right messages to describe why it’s important to have a will, e.g., it’s about retaining control, it’s life-affirming, it’s a way to express your values, it’s a way to tell your life story.
4. Illustrating what happens to assets if someone dies without a will. Here is a diagram showing how the State of Wisconsin determines where assets go if the person dies intestate. Seems to me that showing a graphic like this would have as much if not more impact than any text we might write about the importance of having a will.
What ideas do you have for messages aimed at donors with no will?