Community Invited to Master Wealth Building Strategies by Noted Trust Attorney
Alarming revelations regarding Blacks’ dismal record at creating a will and developing an estate plan prompted AKArama Foundation President Veletta L. Bell to act. Bell, who presides over the Foundation – the charitable arm of Theta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority — said this record of neglect impacts wealth building and is a trend that must be reversed.
The disturbing reveals that led to Bell’s activism came from Black Enterprise, which stated in a recent issue that nearly 70 percent of African Americans have no will or estate plan. The other jarring realization was from the African American Attorney Network (aaattorneynetwork.com). “Failure to use estate planning,” said the attorney network, “has caused the Black community to lose wealth. In the absence of a will, families lose property and wealth built by previous generations.”
Fired up, Bell summoned Yolanda Bailey, Chairman of the Foundation’s Building Your Economic Legacy Committee and, Dr. Causandra McClain-Hall, Chairman – Women’s Health and Wellness Committee. Bell issued a charge: Create a platform that will inform the public about the urgency of having a will and an estate plan.
Inspired by Bell’s call, the chairmen created a free Zoom webinar titled “Life Happens – Getting Your Affairs in Order.” It will be held Tuesday, September 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The webinar is open to the public. Register by placing this in your browser and following instructions: https://bit.ly/getyouraffairsinorder. Attendees. will receive an email confirmation with a link to join the webinar.
The co-chairs snared as a presenter noted trust Attorney Valée Salone, a solo practitioner in the Law Offices of Valée L. Salone, specializing in Probate and Real Estate. Drawing from her decades of providing counsel that has helped thousands of clients avoid the perils of not having a will or estate plan, she will share insights, knowledge and, vital information surrounding Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directives and Guardianship.
McClain-Hall added that the diseases that disproportionately strike Blacks often lead to death. These health realities are added reasons for Blacks to prepare a will and an estate plan.
Supporting her assertion, McClain-Hall noted that:
Blacks contract and die of COVID-19 in greater numbers than most ethnic groups.
Blacks, as documented by the American Heart Association, suffer from heart disease in greater numbers.
Blacks, according to WebMD, are more afflicted with deadly diseases like diabetes, asthma, lung disease, high blood pressure, strokes and, kidney disease. Dr. Hall inserted that colon cancer, which claimed Chadwick Boseman’s life, is another Black killer.
Aside from the monetary and health issues, Bell said long-held beliefs are barriers for Blacks. The AKArama Foundation President said that data indicate that Blacks mistakenly believe that estate planning is only for celebrities. “Anyone vested in their life — regardless of their status — should have a will and a plan, “ Bell countered.
Kimberley I. Egonmwan, Vice-President of the Foundation and an attorney, said another perceived barrier to estate planning is that it is cost prohibitive. “In many cases,” she countered, “attorneys charge by the hour. If your affairs are not complex, a knowledgeable lawyer can prepare a plan without breaking a budget.” Putting it in its proper context, Egonmwan said that preparing a will and a plan is “not a cost but rather an investment in your future, your legacy and in the hard work you’ve put in to accumulate wealth – no matter the amount.”
Attorney Salone, who is also an officer of the Foundation, emphatically drove home the point.
“Blacks must become proactive in determining their destiny. An Estate Plan allows an individual to select who will make her/his healthcare and financial decisions when we can no longer decide for ourselves. Those simple Powers of Attorney for Health and Property, alone, will prevent a Court adjudication of ‘disabled’ and a Judge having final authority over you. A savings in time and money with an understanding of your wishes. Wills and Trusts will direct how your assets are distributed, at death, saving time and money in Probate. Slick and thieving persons will be stopped from taking your life’s assets. Let Your Will Be Done as you planned… not by chance.”
Bell characterized the webinar as a life-altering event for those interested in securing their financial future. For that reason, she welcomes the community to register for this “rare opportunity to hear Attorney Salone’s wise advice, sound strategies and timely tips.”