While planning an 8-day cruise to Jamaica, Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel for their 10th anniversary, Jason and Jennifer Mann were thinking about more than lining up a babysitter, shopping for new swimwear and digging out the sunscreen . . . they were thinking about their children. It was their first vacation without their son, Mason, 5, and daughter Madeline, 2, and the thought crossed their minds that there was one major thing they hadn’t planned for.
“We had been talking about doing a will since Mason was born . . . but, five years passed,” said Jennifer.
“We knew we needed to do it-just hadn’t made the call,” added Jason.
Establishing guardianship for their children was the driving force in the Manns’ decision to contact The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma to start the estate planning process. “I don’t think most people realize how guardianship works,” said Jennifer. “We wanted to make sure our children would be taken care of and not left up to the state.”
An additional element of estate planning that had been weighing on their minds was the assurance of a complete advanced health care directive. Jennifer’s aunt, who was only in her 50s, had recently suffered an aneurism, and she didn’t have a will.
“Having to make all those decisions really put my family in a tough spot,” said Jennifer. “That got us thinking.”
Jason grew up in Del City and attended Oklahoma State University, earning an accounting degree and, later, a degree in turf management. Jennifer grew up in Pawhuska and graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in vocal music education. While teaching vocal music in Yale (near Stillwater), she was introduced to Jason through mutual friends. They were married July 13, 1996, on Jennifer’s 28th birthday.
For the last three years, the couple has lived in Broken Arrow, where they own and operate a weed control and fertilization business. They are active members of Arrow Heights Church in Broken Arrow, where Jennifer directs the children and youth choirs and Jason coaches an Upward basketball team. Most of all, they stay really busy with their adorable blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy and girl.
“Young families put off doing a will because they’re busy and they don’t make it a priority,” said Jennifer.
“You just don’t think something like that [death] is going to happen to your family,” said Jason, adding that using the estate planning services of the Foundation was a “very easy and simple process. It was just a matter of us making the call and just doing it. Most people have good intentions, but good intentions don’t get it done.”
“The hardest part of the whole process was finding a parking space downtown at the attorney’s office!” added Jennifer.
The couple took advantage of the Foundation’s legal reimbursement program in which the Foundation reimburses the legal expenses incurred for two basic wills for a couple as long as they include a 10 percent gift to ministry at their time of death.
“It’s simple and free through the Foundation-can’t get any better than that! They totally reimburse you,” said Jason.
“I think most Christian families would want to give 10 percent back to their church or a Baptist ministry,” said Jennifer.
The Manns will leave their testamentary gift to their church.
“What better way to give than to your church so ministry can continue,” Jennifer said.
The Manns encourage other Oklahoma Baptist families to act now and contact The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma during “Make A Will Month” in January.
“It [having a will] simplifies the decision for your families-everything is planned out and they don’t have to worry about it,” said Jason.
“Do it for the kids . . . do it for your family,” said Jennifer. “Do it so there’s no question, should anything happen, about what you would want.”
For additional information about “Make A Will Month,” call 800/949-9988, or e-mail, email@example.com.