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Many pastors have no estate plan in place

Despite the importance of wills and other estate planning documents, a lot of people in Colorado do not have these important papers in hand. This can be especially true for pastors. According to one study, half of all Southern Baptist ministers do not have key estate documents, including wills, trusts, living wills, legacy stories or durable powers of attorney. While pastors, in general, may be more concerned with the spiritual aspects of the transition to death, making these plans can be very important for their families' well-being after they have passed on.

While many pastors do not have wills themselves, they often recognize the importance of these documents and counsel their congregations to plan their estates. Indeed, 74 percent of respondents said that estate planning is a part of financial stewardship for the future. By making a plan, people can help prevent future family conflict or distrust. They can also work to minimize taxes, fees and delays for their loved ones. There is a number of good reasons why people may avoid making a will, but they could find greater peace of mind by completing their planning.

Reflecting broader social trends, young pastors between the ages of 18 and 44 were the least likely to have estate plans in place; only 31 percent had made a will, and just 14 percent had made a health care advance directive. Among the pastors 55 to 64 or 65 years of age and up, 54 percent had made wills, and 25 percent had durable powers of attorney for health care decisions.

People of any occupation and religious background can benefit from making a plan for the future. An estate planning lawyer can draft key documents like wills, trusts, advance medical directives and durable powers of attorney that reflect a person's wishes. By making a plan, people can help protect their assets and prevent additional trauma for their families.

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