By Sam Swaim & Kristin Steele
We were very young when we did our first estate plan. Because there weren’t laws that would protect our home, our business and our lives should something happen to either one of us we did our first estate plan in our 20’s. We sought legal support to protect ourselves first and then looked to how our estate plan could impact others should something happen to us both. At that time, we knew that protecting our legal rights was going to be an expensive and a long battle. Whether it was through legal fees or through the fight for marriage equality we wanted to be sure that we were able to take care of each other for the long term. And then we wanted to be sure that we could take care of others. That’s when we first decided to leave a planned gift to Basic Rights Oregon.
As our rights have changed we have stood in the middle of the fight for marriage equality. We have raised money, volunteered, lobbied and advocated for equal rights. When the news came down that the marriage victory had been won we celebrated. But we knew there would be more work to do in the fight for equality. Too many are still fighting for their lives in this country. Marriage was just one battle to win. We have revised and rewritten our estate plan as our lives have evolved but we have always known that the fight for equality would exist in our world. And we want to be sure that when we aren’t here to fight any more, Basic Rights Oregon will still be doing the work.
This year is Basic Rights Oregon’s 20th anniversary. For two decades, they have been on the forefront of LGBTQ equality in Oregon, serving as the first (and sometimes only) line of defense against the shocking hate our community witnessed in the 90s. But what about the next 20 years? And the next 20 after that? How can folks like us be certain that the next generation of LGBTQ Oregonians, the LGBTQ youth in grade school right now, can rely on Basic Rights Oregon’s continued presence and watchfulness in our state?
That’s why we decided to leave a planned gift to Basic Rights Oregon. We want to be sure that when we aren’t here to fight any more, Basic Rights Oregon will still be doing organizing at the Capitol for LGBTQ youth, hosting trainings across Oregon for transgender equality, and fighting for justice for LGBTQ people of color and immigrants. We want the Basic Rights Oregon of 2036 to be as vigilant and proactive as they are in 2016.
No matter what happens to us now, we can be at peace knowing that we’ve made one of the most powerful and lasting investments we can make in our community.
To learn more about including Basic Rights Oregon in your estate plans, click here.