A Better Way to Get Started
With Give-It-Twice option, Bicks' plan leaves legacy for family and philanthropy
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, establishing a named scholarship for ag engineering (Ed's major) and nutrition and food science (Jennifer's major). Ed and Jennifer have also been involved with the Alumni Association as Jennifer previously served on the board, and the two have lent support to several other causes at SDSU over the years.
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 knew we could just pick up the phone and call an attorney, or even do our will online, but 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 at the SDSU Foundation is indeed that something that excites us, without diminishing a cent of what we intended for our heirs."
The Foundation's 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. 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 the Foundation would answer their questions with examples and stories, not just blunt answers.
"This made it so much easier to recall later, hearing illustrated examples that contrasted options, such that we could draw our own conclusions," she said. Ed was keen to point out the sound advice, guidance, and when they needed it, occasional nudge to stop procrastinating, "which seems to be what everybody wants to do!"
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."