Catalyst Magazine

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way to Plan for Your Estate

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) hosted its second annual Wills Week Conference on Oct. 23, 2020, attracting 300 members of the University community including staff, alumni, donors, and students. The conference, held virtually because of COVID-19 restrictions, featured four estate planning professionals sharing information and answering questions on general estate planning, wills and probate, life insurance, and planning for Medicare, Medicaid, and long-term care.

“Many people share the same feelings I have around will planning and financial preparations for the future,” says University of Maryland School of Nursing research quality manager Casey Jackson, MS, CCRP. “It comes with a lot of legal jargon, it can be confusing, and it can be expensive. The high-quality speakers were able to relay information.”

Questions from the audience reflected the many different angles of estate planning. James Lee of Metropolitan Wealth Advisors presented on the five core documents of an estate plan: a will, a health care power of attorney, a durable financial power of attorney, a living will, and a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release form.

John Kern of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Services, a nonprofit that offers free legal services for low-income Marylanders, presented on the importance of proper asset titling and the subject of probate, which impacts how estates are planned and settled.

Judy Vereen of New York Life provided an overview of life insurance, describing the different types and where to find it. And the conference closed with a session by Cheryl Jones of PK Law on the often-overlooked importance of planning around the extraordinary expenses that can come later in life.

UMB’s Office of Planned Giving organized the conference in conjunction with National Estate Planning Awareness Week, created by a U.S. House of Representatives resolution in 2008.

“Estate planning affects everyone and yet nobody gets paid to promote it,” said E. John McKee, assistant vice president for planned giving and philanthropy. “Wills Week offers the planned giving office a chance to put aside our normal duties for one week to perform a public service that benefits everyone. Anyone who has completed their estate planning gains peace and a sense of security that is worth the investment of time.”

The Office of Planned Giving has made the conference presentations and general information on estate planning available at this webpage. The next Wills Week Conference will take place Oct. 22, 2021, during National Estate Planning Awareness Week. 

Planning Ahead

The Office of Planned Giving facilitates philanthropy to UMB for donors, development colleagues, and the University community at-large through advantageous giving options. The office can assist donors who are considering gifts to any school, program, designation, or fund at UMB or one of its seven schools via real estate, annuities, investment assets, charitable trusts, and more.

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