By Will Hall, Message Editor
ALEXANDRIA (LBM)—Attorney at law Hugh B. Exnicios is pursuing God’s vision for him at age 85 by announcing a call to like-minded lawyers and notary publics to join him in providing free wills to Louisiana Baptists as a means to encourage bequests to support Baptist causes “in perpetuity.”
WHAT THE NUMBERS MEAN
Exnicios said he was inspired by an April 7, 2016 article in the Baptist Message that shared data indicating that among tithers only 3 percent had made arrangements in a “last will and testament” to continue funding the evangelistic and compassion ministries they had supported with their tithes.
He said the research showed that as many as 37 percent of these faithful tithers would make bequeaths of their estates “if asked.”
“I spoke to Executive Director Wayne Taylor at the Louisiana Baptist Foundation and he told me that this would translate into about $60 million each year in support for Louisiana Baptist missions and ministries,” Exnicios said, “if just one person in each of our churches tithed on their estates.”
“I didn’t realize that there were more than 1,600 churches at the time,” he said, “and Taylor asked me, ‘How are you going to cover the whole state? How are you going to bring this vision into reality?’”
PLANNING THE WORK
Exnicios drew on his study of the Bible for spiritual guidance, noting passages from Isaiah 6:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:27 and John 3:27, for instance, to reassure himself that God will send helpers if He has given the vision.
But he also touched base with his friend David Maxwell, minister of education and outreach with New Zion Baptist Church in Covington, who is a partner in this ministry effort.
Maxwell said he told Exnicios “the best platform” for getting out the word to faithful Louisiana Baptists was the Baptist Message. “Their readers are the people who are staying informed about our cooperative missions and ministries,” he said. “They are engaged and support Baptist causes.”
WORKING THE PLAN
So, he and Exnicios are calling on lawyers and notaries from around the state to contact DASH Memorial Ministries to volunteer.
Both said the volunteerism will be focused on helping individuals to craft olographic wills (in the person’s own handwriting), and with adding a codicil (a handwritten amendment) to an existing will. No fees or charges are incurred in producing either of these legal instruments.
Again, they emphasized that their hope is to encourage Louisiana Baptists to include Baptist causes with bequeaths from their estates.
Exnicios added that an olographic will can include provisions for a special needs child or similar situation, and include a donation of real estate, automobiles or even farm equipment.
However, if someone wants to create a trust, he plans to send those persons to the Louisiana Baptist Foundation for assistance.
A LASTING DIFFERENCE
Taylor said he welcomed Exnicios’ and Maxwell’s efforts through the DASH Memorial Ministry initiative for the potential aid it will offer to important Baptist causes.
He said it will help spread the message of “how to be a good steward of your estate,” recalling a recent situation that illustrated how estate planning makes a difference in extending the impact of a lifetime of stewardship.
“A lady came in to see how she could leave money for the Children’s Home,” he said. But she did not follow up on the work on the actual estate plan. “She took notes, but did not come back.
“Now, the executor knows that the lady wanted to donate to the Children’s Home, but the amount she could have given has been reduced by unnecessary legal expenses,” he said. “If people will utilize the Foundation, we can help them reduce costs and maximize their gifts.”
“In the same spirit, DASH Memorial Ministry is offering to help Louisiana Baptists save the costs of crafting a last will and testament,” Taylor said.
Will Robbins, pastor of First Baptist Church of Folsom, where Exnicios is a member, called him “a faithful Louisiana Baptist with a sense of vision.”
“Hugh is a catalyst for missions and ministry and he has a passion for Baptist causes,” he said.
Exnicios explained that the name for DASH Memorial Ministry came from the “dash” between the date of birth and date of death that is common on tombstones.
He said he wants Louisiana Baptists to imagine a second “dash” after the date of death to signify a “spiritual continuance” from leaving a bequest.
“It’s a symbolic way to look at the difference you can continue to make with your life’s work by simply making a will and including a gift from your estate to those precious ministries you supported with your tithes.”
Attorneys or notary publics who want more information about volunteering with DASH Memorial Ministry to help with free wills for Louisiana Baptists should contact Hugh Exnicios by phone, (985) 630-4549, or David Maxwell via email, David@NewZion.net.