Watch Free Webinar on the Great Wealth Transfer

 

Check out this free webinar on the Great Wealth Transfer!  (NOTE: the first minute or two didn’t get recorded but it picks up on the first slide)

If you have any interest in receiving a copy of the actual powerpoint (with slide data accessible) please email me at jonathan@plannedgivingadvisors.com.

Also, don’t forget to check out our summer planned giving training programs!

The Planned Giving Boot Camp (starts July 12th)

Beyond the Planned Giving Boot Camp (part II of the Boot Camp) (starts July 20th)

Thank you as always for checking out our programs!

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Wealth Transfer Finally Here?

For years, I’ve been working on a powerpoint slide showing the tidal wave of the Great Wealth transfer (in projected numbers, of course) finally arriving.

I am not quite there yet on that particular slide but I have started to cull together very interesting data that shows the waves are beginning to swell!

Got your attention?  This Thursday I am giving a FREE webinar for Donor Search on this topic – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Here is the rest of info on the free session:

Thu, Jun 30, 2016 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT

20 years after the infamous Boston College predictions were made, are we finally seeing signs of the Great Wealth Transfer? Jonathan Gudema, planned giving blogger and obsessive, will present key statistics from the most recent sources including higher education VSE/CAE surveys, Giving USA, the IRS and more – all indicating that Planned Giving is on the rise.

An attorney and fundraiser, Jonathan has over 19 years of experience working with and advising non-profit organizations on planned gift arrangements and tax-advantaged charitable estate planning options.

 

A Tale of Two Gifts

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Right now, I am grappling with two potential complex gifts – as complex as they get.  One I am encouraging a smooth, careful approach to accepting it while the other I am pushing back against.  The question is why?

The smoothing sailing one is a gift annuity funded with real estate!  If you have ever taken my Planned Giving Boot Camp, you should know that I caution against even letting your donors know it’s an option.

So, what is different in this case?  I had one conversation with the donor and he relayed how he sincerely wanted to help the charity and cared deeply about their work, that he had done something similar already with a related charity, and that he was fine only receiving an annuity based on the net proceeds of the sale of the real estate. Oh, and he had a buyer who has purchased from him already – not bound legally but someone who has a track record with the donor.

In a ten minute phone call, all of the alerts were turned off. Donor isn’t pushing the envelope, is taking responsibility for the sale and its costs, and a clear winner in my eyes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to my client.

Next is the one I am having trouble with.  This is for a private individual client but it is a charitable vehicle – a Shark-Fin Grantor Lead Trust funded with life insurance and an annuity.  This is as complex as they get and I should be ecstatic to be involved with this one.  Only problem is that I owe my client a duty to advise against doing anything that is likely to cause trouble with the IRS (or has good chance of being a disaster in anycase).

Firstly, what is a Shark-Fin Grantor Lead Trust funded with life insurance?  It is a lead trust (payments to charity, remainder to family) where the payments to charity are reduced during the “term” – usually the life of the donor – and where a balloon payment to charity happens when the term ends (i.e. the passing of the donor) – most of the balloon payment (from the life insurance owned by the trust) actually goes to the family as an estate tax-free gift.  This is in addition to a big upfront income tax deduction the donors take.

When all of the numbers are crunched, this is the most guaranteed “win, win” as you can find from a tax perspective!  Family gets big upfront deduction.  Annual income tax bite (Grantor trusts send all taxes on income in the trust back to the donor!) is lessened because it is based on small commercial annuity  payments to charity.  Family and charity are winners at the end.  No risks from a numbers perspective.  So, why am I being such a pain to the promoters of this plan?

Do a quick google search on Shark-Fin Lead Trusts and you might find several articles from competing attorneys and financial guys arguing whether these things work or not.  The conclusion from most of the articles is that there just isn’t enough guidance from the IRS.  That means proceed with caution.

In other words, the IRS may eventually look at these (it happens sooner or later) and decide that even though each of the steps in the deal are kosher and not nefarious, the program taken as a whole is a big tax avoidance scheme.  It works too well.

Several years ago, the IRS got wind that promoters had this deal where charities would own large insurance policies but would only be receiving around 10% of the death benefit – the other 90% would go to family tax-free!  The problem was that the donor was taking a 100% deduction for premiums paid through the charity but only giving 10% of the death benefit to charity (herein was the problem!).  Still, the promoters claimed there was nothing wrong and that the charities as owners of the policies could change beneficiaries at will.

IRS didn’t buy it and levied draconian penalties on the charities and families involved. Now, it is strictly forbidden for any charity to own life insurance policy that has any non-charitable beneficiaries. (in fact, it’s those same draconian penalties that makes us wonder if the IRS will somehow attack lead trust arrangements that own life insurance going to both family and charity)

So, with a team of high end promoters pressuring me more than I can withstand, I called the top charitable tax expert in the country (as according to me and many others). I assumed that before I even finished my first three to five words, that he would give me is usual stern warning of “stay away from this one Jonathan.” (meaning not only tell my client not to do it but also remove myself from the case altogether).

Strangely, his response was the opposite of what I expected!  He said as far as he could see, it worked.

So, I withdrew my objections and we’ll see.  Client still needs to decide to fork over a lot of $ to get this done as it requires purchasing a fully paid life insurance policy (as well as the annuity to pay the annual charitable amount). Oh, and the client will use a big law firm to draft and implement the trust (that’s our insurance policy if the deal ever goes sour!).

So, you never know – maybe I will be writing about two of the most complex gift scenarios very soon!

Get Results Now in Planned Giving?!

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I would be a fool or a liar if I said that planned giving was all about immediate results (i.e. countable money).  In fact, we know it typically takes many years of consistent marketing and promotion for money results to show from planned giving efforts.

Of course, as a consultant, the time frame that I am often given is much shorter.  In fact, after about a year of not so successful promotional attempts at one of my clients, I was given a three month extension to generate something in terms of result. Yes, three months to show results for a planned giving program (mind you, where there was really none at all for the org previously).

That was almost two years ago – I am still working with that client.

What did I do?  Well, I came up with a list of things they could have me working on in my two half days a week for them.  I could send a letter to the longest term donors in the New York area and then call and hope they don’t hang up on me.  I can’t remember what else I proposed except for what we did.

We had proposal from Market Smart (click to see who they are) to launch a survey campaign that was not given any attention by the leadership from the previous year.  I dusted it off and re-pitched it and to their credit, the client decided to give it a shot.

The rest is history.  Over 70 new members of the legacy society, hundreds of interested or definitely considering planned gifts (40% positive interest to planned giving), and proof that this organization could succeed in planned giving, if only they would market it.

Is this a sales pitch for Market Smart?  No (even though I highly recommend them), it is actually a pitch for our new training program for the summer – Beyond the Planned Giving Boot Camp.  Please click the link and see the line-up!  We will go in depth into the two biggest “results” options in the planned giving world (surveys and legacy challenge grants), as well as provide inside guidance on CGA and CRT programs.

So, if  you are struggling for results for your planned giving program – take this course. I can guarantee you will walk away with ideas that you can implement and start getting results.