Although all adults should prepare a will, people in their 30s and 40s who are young and healthy tend not to think about end-of-life issues. If you think of a will as something only for the elderly, any estate planner will tell you it's not true. So will Sabrina Bryant. She's only 41, but she's already done a third version of her will. Each time she has included the Zoological Society of Milwaukee (ZSM) as a beneficiary. Only recently, however, did Bryant realize that her thoughtful pre-planning made her eligible to be a member of the ZSM's Simba Circle, which recognizes donors who include the ZSM in their will or with another type of legacy gift.
As a long-time supporter of and volunteer for animal-welfare organizations, Bryant-a lover of all cats, big and small-wasn't aware of the Simba Circle. Over the years she's supported the Zoo and ZSM through fundraisers and animal sponsorships. Volunteering on behalf of people and animals is a huge part of Bryant's life. "I consider it my job, although I don't get paid for it," she says. Thanks to her volunteerism and philanthropy, Bryant recently won an award from Milwaukee's Community Shares, specifically for her animal-welfare work. A few weeks later she was contacted by Kim Peterson, senior development officer for the ZSM, who was also at the event. Peterson told her about the Simba Circle. "I didn't know there was an official group of people who put the Zoological Society into their wills," she says. "Kim asked me to complete the form to officially notify the Zoological Society of my plans, thus making me a member of the Simba Circle." As a result, Bryant now receives recognition on signage at the Zoo and in ZSM publications. Plus, she gets invitations to Simba Circle events and VIP premiere events.
Bryant says adults of all ages should consider writing wills now instead of later because a will can have a powerful impact on a non-profit. Why does Bryant recommend the ZSM? "The Zoological Society has a proven record of success helping animals at the Zoo, helping to maintain the Zoo, and doing excellent conservation work abroad."