A Better Way to Get Started
What matters most when establishing an estate plan? For Ed and Jennifer Bick, it was the assurance and clarity of customizable options available to best suit their priorities and interests. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, the couple sought guidance on a plan with the SDSU Foundation, intent on establishing steps to meet their goals.
"People don't know what they don't know about their estate options," said Jennifer. She and her husband, Ed, met at SDSU and graduated together in 1970. While she worked several jobs, including that of a paralegal for a law firm doing trusts, Ed had a long career in the meat production industry throughout the country. They chose to settle outside Des Moines, IA after retirement to live near their daughter and her family.
The Bicks have been long-time supporters of their alma mater, supporting named scholarships for Ag Engineering, Nutrition and Food Science, and several other areas. Jennifer also served on the Alumni Association board.
With an extensive trip planned in early 2020, the couple realized it was time to review their estate plan. The global pandemic caused their trip to be canceled, increasing their awareness of the need for a review.
The Bicks had a goal in mind to both protect their legacy and loved ones and support their charitable interests. The first step in reaching their goal was to visit with one of the SDSU Foundation's certified estate gift planners before going to their attorney. Their friends, Jeff and Trudi Nelson, had done similar planning with the Foundation; after hearing their recommendation, Jennifer and Ed sought to follow the Nelsons' example in discovering what plan would suit them best.
"We wanted whatever we did to be meaningful," said Ed. As Jennifer explained, "The word 'legacy' cannot be used to describe a will, nor the typical estate plan, but what we developed over several months with Marc Littlecott at the SDSU Foundation is indeed that something that excites us, without diminishing a cent of what we intended for our heirs."
The Bicks' customized plan, which the couple eventually took to their attorney for refinement and implementation, will leave their estate to their daughter/heirs and also to their charitable priorities. In one inclusive and customized plan, the Bicks can ensure their loved ones benefit from their inheritance while also providing for charitable causes.
Ed and Jennifer's top charitable priority is education. They plan to endow two professorships in their respective majors at SDSU and reinforce their existing named scholarship to keep it ahead of inflation. The couple also plans to help Lutheran Family Services and the church they once attended years ago in Greeley, CO. "The quiet work LFS does is amazing and wide-ranging, without blowing their own horn," said Jennifer.
Asked what they liked best about pre-planning their estate with an SDSU gift planner before visiting their attorney, Jennifer said she appreciated how Marc would answer their questions with examples and stories, not just blunt answers.
"This made it so much easier to recall later, hearing his illustrated examples that contrasted options, such that we could draw our own conclusions," she said.
The children of farmers, the Bicks are no-nonsense and analytical when it comes to planning for the future. The couple explained, "The appeal of our plan is more than passing assets to a new generation. It's the ability to complete that goal while preserving asset value to gracefully fund education and charitable entities that's how we choose to define our legacy."