Giving back and paying it forward: Why making a will is so important for Catholics

August is National Make-A-Will Month

By Rod Linhares

A lifelong Catholic, Ed Reidy was baptized at Our Lady of Mercy in Daly City, and he’s been a member of St. Stephen Parish in San Francisco since 1967.  After attending high school at St. Ignatius High School in the City (class of ’76), he went to Santa Clara University, where he played rugby and football. 

Reidy credits his Catholic upbringing and education for establishing a strong foundation, instilling a deep sense of community, and being integral to the person he is today.  “We were taught the need to participate in something greater than ourselves,” he says. 

Ed Reidy

After a long career with PepsiCo that took him around the world, Reidy came back to San Francisco and immersed himself in the community.  In addition to his active role at St. Stephen’s, he serves on the board of directors (including time as the board chair) of the Janet Pomeroy Center in San Francisco, which provides recreational, vocational, and educational opportunities for people with disabilities.  He is also an emeritus board member of the Olympic Club, where he’s been a member for 51 years, and is integrally involved with its foundation, supporting sports-related non-profits that provide resources to underserved communities.

In addition, Ed Reidy is a member of St. Ignatius’s Admiral Callaghan Society, which mentors students and encourages pursuit of service-related roles, including the U.S. military; he supports rugby athletes at Santa Clara University as a member of the team’s governing board; he’s volunteered in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood with the St. Vincent De Paul Society to provide clothing and other supplies to the homeless there.  Quite simply, his commitment to the community is deep and a great inspiration.

It is because of the church’s influence on his life that Ed Reidy wanted to leave a gift in his estate to the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  He used FreeWill, a free service provided by the Archdiocese, to do so.  “It is really important to provide a legacy and help the generations to come.  FreeWill made it simple and easy,” Reidy said.

“The Church has provided me with a foundation and direction.  I want to give back.”

Ed Reidy

Estate planning is especially important for Catholics.  We are called to act as stewards for our lives and our futures so we can reach future generations with the Church’s message of faith, love and hope.

Estate plans help protect your assets, make your wishes known, and make certain that control of your health and safety decisions is in your own hands.  In many states the absence of a will results in the government claiming ownership of your assets, so it’s critical to have a plan to support your loved ones and the things you’ve worked hard for.

“People don’t do enough to protect themselves or their loved ones,” Reidy said.  

Many people believe that a will isn’t necessary due to their age or the size of their estate.  But whether you’re 18 or 80, everyone should consider their future and the ramifications on their loved ones.  Do you have an estate plan in place?      

FreeWill can make the essential, yet traditionally expensive task of creating a will easier.  In less than a half an hour you can protect what matters most — at no cost.  You also have the opportunity, if you’d like, to create a legacy gift by supporting the Archdiocesan parish, school, or ministry of your choice — thereby strengthening our Catholic community, as Ed Reidy noted, “…for generations to come.”

Learn more about Free Will here.

-Linhares is the Archdiocese of San Francisco director of Mission Advancement.

(Banner photo is by Debra Greenblat/Archdiocese of San Francisco)