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planned giving & trust se r vices Colleen I t is 1948. Newly wed and excited, Donal and Deirdre Connors travel across the ocean, away from their families in Ireland and to a new life in Canada. In a small village in southern Ontario, they begin the adventure of establishing their new home. Fast-forward 10 years. Donal is the pastor of a church just blocks from their new home—a modest but charming bungalow with white siding, blue shutters, and a front porch—and Deirdre is expecting their first child. They are older than most expectant parents of the time and so happy to finally be starting their family. In late 1958 Colleen is born, and Donal and Deirdre instantly know their lives are forever changed. Not simply because they are now parents, but because they are parents of a sweet baby girl who also has Down Syndrome. “ The Connors realize that they need to find a way to provide and care for Colleen once they are gone. ” Ten more years pass, and the Connors sit on their porch watching their darling Colleen happily playing with the neighbours’ kids. Donal is still a pastor at the same church, Colleen now takes the bus to and from a special school each day, and Deirdre has begun working as a part-time receptionist at the local high school. Raising Colleen has its unique challenges, yet they feel lucky and blessed, and cherish each day as they watch their special little girl grow into a kind and inspiring young woman. Another 10 years go by. Colleen is now 20 but clearly unable to live independent of her parents. Both Donal and Deirdre’s parents have passed on, leaving few remaining relatives, all of whom live an ocean away. The Connors realize that they need to find a way to provide and care for Colleen once they are gone. Colleen’s parents decide to talk to their lawyer, who recommends that they add a testamentary trust in their wills. This will give them a definite plan for taking care of their precious daughter. They ask Colleen’s doctor to act as their trustee to manage the assets of their estate that will provide for Colleen’s living expenses for the remainder of her life. 1 When Colleen is 36 years old, her dear mother tragically passes away. Donal continues to care for his daughter until he is no longer able to. He moves Colleen into a very nice group home where he knows she will be happy, and he moves himself into a modest assisted living retirement residence; both are still able to live near the church and village they love. When he is 84 years old, Donal passes away, but because of the trust that was set up for Colleen, she continues to be well looked after. Pastor Donal and Deirdre requested that after Colleen passes away, the remainder of the assets in the trust will go to the two organizations most dear to all three Connors: their church and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. Through their testamentary trust, 2 the Connors were able to depart this world knowing that they had provided for the future of their daughter, for Down Syndrome children, and for their church. n Leah C. Keys is a staff writer for the Planned Giving and Trust Services department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada. 1 With a testamentary trust, these persons include those who are unable to care for themselves and/or manage their financial and other affairs, as well as those who have not reached the age of majority or are otherwise believed to be unable to be adequately responsible with regard to financial matters. 2 A type of charitable remainder trust. M Apr i l 2 015 11