Preparing for the future and leaving a lasting impact through TBMF and FreeWill

by Bonnie Hirschfeld on August 30, 2023 in News

Debra McCammon and her husband, Joe, knew they needed to make a will. Both in their mid-sixties and with two adult daughters, they knew it was important that they had a plan for their estate. But an attorney was too expensive, and the online options were confusing and potentially risky.

“It was too expensive to do with an attorney, and it was too confusing to do for free online,” Debra said. “There was so much legalese, and I didn’t know if I could trust it or not.”

Debra runs the Hospitality House in Huntsville, and her husband was a pastor for over 30 years. So, during the 2021 Texas Baptists Annual Meeting in Galveston, they traveled to the convention and set up a booth for her ministry. While they were there, a sign caught her eye. It said “Free Will.”

Debra went to the booth and talked to Jerry Carlisle, president of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF).

“He told me that there was a website where you could make a will for free and he walked through it, and it was all made possible by TBMF,” she said. “I was blown away. Finally, someone I could trust to walk me through this.”

TBMF has had a partnership with FreeWill, a will-writing tool, since 2021. It allows people to make a plan for the future, as well as to make a lasting commitment to the people and ministries that matter most. Carlisle explained that making a will is a vital part of protecting your loved ones and stewarding everything that God has entrusted to your care.

When they got home, Debra sat down at the computer and began filling out the FreeWill online form. In one night, she had filled out all the information, following prompts given by FreeWill. She printed out the additional documents she needed and got them properly signed, witnessed and notarized, and she was done.

“It was just so easy to use it, and they explained every aspect of it, so it wasn’t overwhelming. I didn’t feel like I had to wade through difficult legal terms,” she said.

Almost two-thirds of people who die in Texas each year do not have a will. That means that when they pass away, the local court and the state’s laws determine what happens to their assets, instead of themselves or their loved ones. This can also apply to children who are still minors, pets, digital assets and more. The best way to ensure that everything, and everyone, under your care is provided for is to make a will outlining a plan, Carlisle explained.

Carlisle also emphasized that a will is a way to carry on someone’s legacy of ministry and service. Whether it is through a gift to a beloved ministry or providing for loved ones, a will is a way to ensure that your impact is eternal. While TBMF encourages bequest gifts to Texas Baptist churches and ministries, there is absolutely no expectation or obligation to do so through FreeWill.

August is Make-A-Will month, but just because the month is drawing to a close does not mean it is too late. Through TBMF’s partnership with FreeWill, Texas Baptists are able to create a free, easy-to-write will whenever they would like. The document is legal in all 50 states after being properly signed, witnessed and notarized.

Since Debra and her husband have created their wills, a great burden has been lifted. They are confident that they have a plan for the future and that their assets will have a lasting impact. Debra encouraged anyone who does not have a will, or who would like to update an existing one, to use FreeWill.

“I share it with people all the time,” she said. “It’s important for everyone to know that it’s out there, it’s available, it’s easy to use and it’s through people you can trust.”

To learn more about TBMF, FreeWill and how to begin leaving a lasting legacy, go here.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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