The Importance of Having a Will


It started with a 13-year melanoma survivor letting us know that he had put us in his will. Jeff Berg, a Stage IV melanoma survivor from California, contacted us in early 2021 to let us know we were a beneficiary in his estate. The news was so wonderful, and Jeff’s story was so compelling that we wrote a donor spotlight story on him.

Right around the same time, we received a note and a check from a woman in Virginia whose mother had passed from melanoma. The check was from a charitable remainder trust that her parents—now both deceased—had set up a decade earlier. The check was for over $50,000, and we were so grateful for the gift.

Still, other gifts or notifications like these have followed, as have questions from melanoma survivors or family members who would like to include AIM in their estate plans. Some know how to do so; others have asked us for help or information.

So we began researching the best way for us to help people who ask us for help, and our research led us to a respected company called FreeWill that offers a free, online estate planning tool for anyone to create a will (or a Revocable Living Trust if you’re in California). Once signed, the document you create is a legal, valid will. The tool allows you to not only create the will, but as part of the process to designate gifts as you wish, such as to AIM at Melanoma.

As we were researching FreeWill, the company coincidentally contacted us to say that we had just been designated in several wills by people using their tool. Those people had learned about FreeWill from some other source but thought enough about AIM to generously designate gifts to us. We were thrilled, and we also knew from this coincidental experience that people were successfully using the tool. We contacted FreeWill to learn more.

After extensive discussions with FreeWill, we decided to partner with them to offer this free tool to the AIM community. During this process, we learned that nearly 67% of Americans do not have an estate plan. We’re happy to help be part of the solution: No matter who you are, how old you are, or how healthy you are, having an up-to-date will is an essential way to protect your family and support charitable causes that are important to you.

We know the holidays are a busy time, but perhaps your New Year’s resolution will be to create a will if you don’t have one or update your will if you do have one.

We hope you find this tool useful. Two of our employees and multiple AIM community members have already used FreeWill. Whether you include AIM in your estate plan or not, please consider using this tool!

Please view AIM’s web pages about beneficiary designations, securities gifts, IRA gifts, and other ways to give to AIM.

Thank you!