“Philanthropy can be a differentiator,” the CEO of Exponent Philanthopy tells financial planners. “It can strengthen a client relationships over the long term and even extend to multiple generations.” Yet, in a U.S. Trust survey of 100 people with $3 million or more in investable assets, less than half reported being satisfied with the philanthropic discussions they’ve had with their advisors.

It’s not about asking clients “Are you philanthropic?” philanthropic leadership consultant Arlene Cogen says. So what are good questions to kick of a discussion about charitable giving?

  • What do you want to be remembered for?
  • How do you define success?
  • What is something meaningful that happened to you that was made possible by the money you have?

At Geyer Law, we agree that the estate planshould reflect the legacy the client wishes to leave.
Yes, there are certainly both tax benefits and estate planning benefits to be gleaned through charitable giving, but we agree with Financial Planning author Kerri Anne Renzulli, who advises financial planners that their clients would prefer talking first about the more personal aspects and motivations for giving.
With the motivating factors having been clarified, advisors can move to the “how tos”. As just one option, recognizing certain tax law changes set to take effect in 2019, our attorneys at Geyer Law have been coordinating with clients’ tax advisors along with representatives of their favorite charities, to set up donor-advised funds.

A well-crafted estate plan is by nature a very personal affair. It provides for loved ones, while at the same time protecting them from unnecessary hassles and delays. Most important, it answers the question for your survivors – What do you want to be remembered for?

– by Rebecca W. Geyer