The Importance of Long Term Planning
MHCO Recognizes National Estate Planning Week Oct. 17-23
MAKING SURE YOUR WORK, YOUR SAVINGS, AND YOUR WISHES BENEFITS YOU, YOUR FAMILY, AND THOSE YOU SUPPORT – FOR CERTAIN, FOR A LIFETIME, AND FOREVER
October 17 – 23, 2016 is recognized as National Estate Planning Week for an eighth year. Why have such a week all about wills and estates? Why talk about something that is not a pleasant topic or something to even discuss? Because for all of us, it is inevitable and unknown. And planning your estate and your final lifetime, financial decisions helps tremendously with the uncertainty and emotions for you and your loved ones, forever. It is estimated that over 50% of Americans do not have a will. Yet, estate planning is one of the most overlooked and vital areas of personal finances. After a life of working, saving, sacrificing, and giving, some forget the most important step in financial planning and the only one that will make an impact well after a loved one has left us. Why would anyone leave to chance all they have worked for and saved for, only to have decisions made by another. While not pleasant to think about, a will and your plans after passing are one of the greatest acts of kindness and security you can provide for your family. Wills and estate can also involve the custody of children, deposition of property, or the selection of favorite charities, to insure that your beliefs and support continue, for whomever you choose, for years to come. They only way to make this happen is with Estate Planning.
From the tax benefits to the peace of mind, making your estate plan is simple, inexpensive, and provides one of the best and most beneficial life plans for you and your family. For our Masonic Home, Estate Planning is crucial, for our work today and for the future. Planned Giving, including wills, estates, trusts, gifts of property, annuities, IRA’s, Life Insurance, and other major gifts endure as the single-most important contribution protecting the outlook and existence of MHCO and its ability to serve children in the future. They are also a sound way for our donors to make a desirable gift to the children, while protecting their need to meet personal, family, and financial obligations in the future. A donor does not have to be a “millionaire” to leave a planned gift, but to simply have the desire to continue to support a charity as well as their family, even in their passing, in a way that will assure MHCO’s ability to care for more children apart from their family and in need of its protect, provisions, and hope for years and years to come. Wills and estate and various elements of planned gifts at MHCO accounted for 56% of the total amount of donation revenue given to MHCO in 2015. Including stocks and funding for designated scholarships and other accounts, planned giving donated $2.1 million in donation revenue for various operations at MHCO in 2015 alone. The Home annually honors those who name MHCO in a planned gift, through our Hayes-Neal Society. It recognizes those while with us or after their passing, whose estate planning includes MHCO, in any amount, noting their “gift of a lifetime” for the future of this Home and our ability to care of children, today, tomorrow, and for years to come.
National Estate Planning Awareness Week is the perfect time to make sure your financial and personal affairs are in order in the event of sickness, an accident, or untimely death. Contact your estate planning professional, banker, financial planner, or legal counsel or call or email MHCO at 919-603-3901 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in how to get started. Talk with your family or a trusted friend about what you desire in your life time of giving. This is your plan – make sure you design it that way and make sure it is carried out as you wish. A will and proper guidance, with qualified individuals is the most secure way to make this happen. If you already have a plan, it’s a good time to review your plan to make needed adjustments to beneficiary designations or modify retirement accounts and insurance policies.
Below is just one example in the history of MHCO of a person who planned well before he sadly left us and how his estate plan benefitted so many while still on earth – including our Home and our kids. Our friend Brady and his legacy in life and in charity lives on today because of his faith in God, his belief in the mission of our Home and the charity of other organizations and his creation of a sound estate plan, giving him the power and confidence in leaving a legacy to benefit children for generations.
A STORY IN THE POWER OF ESTATE PLANNING
Giving More Than a Gift- Brady Jefcoat’s Life and Words Are the True Gift to All Who Know Him
Sitting on the carport of his Wake County home, Mr. Brady Jefcoat begins to discuss the miracles of life. The stories follow endlessly, as does the laughter and learning. It is a porch that has hosted college presidents, religious leaders, world travelers, good friends, and strangers in need. The rocking chairs are a welcome sight to all who stop by for a visit because you know a few wonderful moments with Brady will change the outlook of your entire day. The miracles of our world, past, present and future are discussed in earnest by Brady, but the true miracle is what he has given to others throughout his ninety-plus years on this earth.
To visit with Brady means to engage in the art of conversation and to experience the story of his life and the stories of thousands of people he has touched throughout it. The pearls of wisdom that flow from Brady’s mouth could fill your mind hundred times over. Between the laughter and the wisdom you find yourself witnessing a truly special individual; not only for what he has given through major gifts to his church, the City of Murfreesboro, North Carolina and to our Masonic Home for Children Oxford, but for what he continues to give with his words, his mind, and his heart.
It is hard to decide which part of Brady Jefcoat is the most amazing to witness. He tells a story with honesty, element, and emphasis, matching the world’s best orator with his delivery and relevance. He can reference the Holy Bible and impart those listening with details and meaning known by only those who have studied the scripture and its meaning. One has to be on their toes as he will quiz even the most learned scholar of the good book and tax the mind of those who claim to know all there is know. As a youth, Brady was involved in a car accident, which resulted in a disabled hand. Yet, the work that he performs as a craftsman is astonishing, matching lines and curves of wood and metal and reconstruction pieces that were considered, “beyond repair”. These mended items are placed amount his collection of antiques, which is massive, to say the least, and holds treasures from every corner of the earth. Some he has purchased but many have been given to him by friends, acquaintances or complete strangers, who know the true appreciation that Brady has for every item and oddity. These collectibles have been placed in Brady’s care because of his true love for art, knowledge and an appreciation for history. Most amazing is Brady’s knowledge of people, a skill he has perfected over his lifetime and one that has touched the souls of anyone that has every met him. His true love is people; their thoughts, concerns, and troubles and what he can share with them, whether it is a smile, a story, or an attentive ear. It is this fact that sets Brady apart from most people and one that has endured him to many, including the author of this story.
Amidst the most wonderful collection of memorabilia and history, you get to know Brady. With book, chapter and verse, Brady quotes the Holy Bible from memory. In doing so he always adds an interesting fact or challenges you with a question, all for the purpose of educating and entertaining, because he loves to share with others. This display of memorization leads you to believe that Brady attended years of college or divides his time among constant reading. The fact of the matter is Brady’s memory and his talent to communicate stem from a lifelong desire to succeed, to learn and to share with others. For a man faced with many obstacles and challenges in his life, his words are soft and promising and his thoughts are precise, calculated, and constructed with experience. His collection of tangible treasures is amazing, but it is the intangibles of Brady that set him apart from the rest of us. While learning about the world’s largest collection of chittlings knives or staring in amazement at the couch used in “Gone With The Wind”, you realize the true treasure you are witnessing is Brady himself.
The life of Brady Jefcoat is so interesting and so inspiring that it would be difficult to recap it in one article. His story would make a wonderful movie, with many sequels and a continuing plot line that includes with a different adventure each week. This writing does not do it justice and barely describes the many, many gifts Brady has given throughout his life. Even with his hand mangled in a car accident when a child, Brady demonstrated a zest for life and learning, working in several professions as he grew. Brady’s quest for knowledge began in school and soon after graduating, he sought work and an opportunity to display his knowledge and exercise his will to succeed. His hand obscured in a coat pocket, Brady walked into a Raleigh based book bindery searching for a job. Throughout the day, Brady had been rejected, turned away from potential jobs, because of his hand. Undeterred, Brady continued his search and made a promise to apply all the talent that God had given him. His only dream was to work and to demonstrate his abilities. His last stop proved to be that opportunity, as Brady Jefcoat took a job at the bindery, destined to demonstrate his talents and all that he had to give.
Best known as a carpenter, a skill he still demonstrates through historic restorations today, Brady’s talent and tremendous drive to succeed were evident at an early age. From the book bindery, to a bus garage, and on to his own construction business, Brady made business associations and life-long friends through his skill, determination and because of his work ethic. Brady was known has a person who could fix the unfixable, one to never give up, and a true craftsman. Brady indeed can fix anything from baptismal, to window panes to the occasional aching heart or troubled mind. Brady’s life is a tribute to a faith in God and a belief in yourself and your talents.
The circa 1922 Murfreesboro High School stands today as the Brady C. Jefcoat Museum of Americana; another testament to the generosity of Brady. Wanting to display all that he had been given and acquired, Brady set out to find a place to present the treasures of his life for the benefit of others. The collection of items, ranging from cooking equipment, to air rifles, to game birds is only a small portion of Brady’s anthology. These items and the stories behind them are the result of gifts and “finds”, many trips to many flea markets, and a genuine love of learning. For every piece Brady has in his collection, there is a story. And for many pieces in his collection, Brady has used his mind’s eye and his talent to restore them to their previous glory. Brady continues to this day, taking unique collectibles and reconditioning them, spending time and investing heart into each piece. In the same fashion, through his public speaking (several hundred in his lifetime) or through small talks on his carport, Brady has reconditioned the lives of people, investing that same amount of time and a greater amount of heart to make a difference and help people realize their greatest gifts.
Stacks of letters can be found throughout Brady’s home from people who have been touched by his story. They speak to Brady and remind him of his opportunity to share with others and of the many people that have been affected by his life. In speaking of these letters, Brady displays surprise and reverence and cherishes them as the greatest piece in his collection. They come because of his speaking engagements, another treasure in Brady’s life. Brady loves the opportunity to speak to others and share with them. An even greater thrill comes when his audience asks questions or sends a message of thanks. For it is his words that have touch a chord in the hearts and minds of many and his words that he cradles has his greatest gift to others.
In January 2006, Mr. Brady Jefcoat donated a piece of his homestead to The Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. The donation was part of a plan developed by Mr. Jefcoat and Wake County Parks, Recreation and Land Use Department, to construction a park for residents located in the southern part of the county. The park would be yet another way to affect the lives of others especially the very young lives of the future. Once again, Brady was taking his life’s work and giving it back so that generations after him could enjoy it. Wake County received an additional part of the property, the result of another donation by Brady, to secure land for the plan. Mr. Jefcoat’s gift to the Masonic Home for Children equaled over $1.3 million dollars; a tremendous gift for the future of our Home and its children and one which will forever live at this Home as historic in its generosity. Brady is not a Mason, nor was his family affiliated with the craft, but his life is an example of our Masonic tenets realized; faith, hope and charity. For it is with faith in God that Brady has lived his life, hope in all people that they can succeed as he did and charity for the many, many blessings he has imparted to others, especially this Home and its children. His gift will be recognized permanently later this year with the naming of the Brady C. Jefcoat Cottage, one of seven residence home at MHCO that opened in 2003. While Mr. Jefcoat’s generosity will be remembered through the naming of a home, his words and his story will be remembered in the minds and hearts of all he has met throughout his life; including me.