Professional Advisor Newsletter
Professional Advisor Newsletter
Hello from the Community Foundation of Grundy County (CFGC)!
As the second half of 2022 gets into full swing, many people are already starting to think ahead to year-end tax planning. Perhaps you’re even reviewing client files to schedule annual meetings, update estate plans, or adjust 2022 tax planning to align with the realities of the year. A lot might have changed for your clients now that we are in the midst of high inflation and stock market volatility.
The team at CFGC is on the same page. We’re working with our donors to ensure that their charitable giving plans are aligned with what’s going on in 2022. For example, we’re helping donors increase support for organizations that are struggling to keep up with rising costs; we’re working with donors and their advisors to implement tax planning strategies that involve the charitable tax deduction; and we’re engaging in conversations about how donors’ estate plans can leave a legacy to the community we all love.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside so many of you as you’re advising your philanthropic clients. If we’ve not yet had a chance to work together, please reach out. Our team would love to get to know you and learn how we can be a useful, behind-the-scenes resource for the charitable components of the services you provide to your clients.
To that end, this issue of our newsletter (e-version can be found at https://cfgrundycounty.com/) features three topics related to the ways we can work together:
–Tax planning strategies for your younger, philanthropic clients
–Benefits of collaborating with CFGC that surprise some advisors
–A quick reminder of why the SECURE 2.0 Act is on our radar
We wish you a wonderful summer and hope to hear from you soon!
Bunching, long-term appreciated assets, and the fruits of helping younger clients plan their charitable giving
Developing a thorough estate plan isn’t important only for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. Millennials, who now make up nearly a quarter of the population in the United States, may prove to be more enthusiastic planners than their parents and grandparents, according to the 2022 Estate Planning Study: Millennial Estate Planning Continues in a Pandemic.
What does this mean for planning gifts to charity?
Your millennial clients may be interested in setting up charitable gift vehicles earlier in their lives than some of your older clients. And because millennials tend to be better savers than their elders, it’s never too soon to discuss philanthropic intentions with your younger clients.
What’s an example of a giving technique that is well-suited for millennials?
As they build careers, switch jobs, and start businesses, millennials’ incomes may ebb and flow from year to year. This makes “bunching,” or “bundling,” through a donor-advised fund at the community foundation very useful. Because contributions to the donor-advised fund are eligible for an immediate tax deduction--but are not required to be granted from the fund to charities right away--your client can “front load” donations into a donor-advised fund at a level that takes advantage of itemizing deductions during a high income year, and then contribute less to the donor-advised fund in lower income years. Each year, your client can recommend grants from the donor-advised fund to favorite charities according to the timeframe that aligns with the client’s goals for supporting those organizations, regardless of the client’s income in that particular year.
Does bunching work with long-term appreciated assets?
Yes! Although it may seem obvious to professionals in the financial world, it’s not always top of mind for your clients to remember to donate long-term appreciated assets to their donor-advised funds. This is especially true of millennial clients who only now might be reaching a point in their lives when they own stock or other assets that have gone up in value. Donating an appreciated asset is tax efficient because the asset given to the donor-advised fund or other public charity typically is deductible at the asset’s fair market value. The charity, in turn, pays no capital gains tax on its sale of the asset, thereby generating more dollars to support charitable causes than your client would have had if the client had sold the asset and given the proceeds to charity.
Does it work to give real estate?
Yes! Real estate is an excellent long-term asset to donate to a donor-advised fund at the community foundation, especially now. In late 2021, buying a second home appeared to be a strengthening trend. While higher interest rates and inflation might dampen that trend in the short-term, the ability to work from anywhere is a reality that’s unlikely to disappear. This means even your younger clients, not just retirees, may be buying and selling second homes and even rental properties. These clients could be good candidates to donate real estate to a donor-advised fund. As with gifts of other long-term appreciated assets, a client’s gift of real estate to a donor-advised fund at the community foundation avoids capital gains taxes and generates more money for charitable causes than selling the property first and donating the proceeds.
Any fun facts here?
Millennials’ end-of-life planning preferences have departed from the previous generations’ traditions, according to the study, right down to the most popular songs played or performed at a memorial service. Sought after titles now include Beyonce’s “I Was Here” in addition to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
The community foundation edge: Personal knowledge, QCD eligibility, and public support
Advisors frequently comment that they’re surprised to discover the many ways CFGC can help their clients, especially compared with national donor-advised fund programs affiliated with brokerage houses or financial services firms. Here are three examples of the types of comments community foundations have heard over the years from attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors:
“I didn’t realize that the community foundation’s donor-advised fund offering was so much more than just an online account. My clients have loved getting to know other donors, accessing first-hand knowledge about what’s going on in the community and how their favorite charities are making a difference, and being able to involve their children in philanthropic events and activities.”
“I’m amazed at the variety of funds the community foundation can administer. Many of my clients have established donor-advised funds and have also augmented their philanthropic planning with a specialized fund such as a scholarship fund, designated fund, or field-of-interest fund. A big bonus for my retirement-age clients is that the IRS allows the community foundation to receive a Qualified Charitable Distribution from a client’s IRA and place it into one of these specialized funds.”
“My clients who sit on boards of directors of start-up charities have been so happy that grants from donor-advised funds–their own and others’--count toward the IRS’s public support test. That’s really helped new organizations in our community get off the ground.”
QCD enhancements: Steps forward and fingers crossed
In legislative news, a recent flurry of activity in the Senate has inched forward the legislation known as SECURE 2.0. Philanthropists and their advisors are watching this legislation closely because of the proposed inclusion of provisions that would adjust the annual $100,000 Qualified Charitable Distribution (“QCD”) cap for inflation and allow a one-time, $50,000 QCD to a charitable remainder trust or other split-interest gift. It’s impossible to predict what might happen when the House and Senate bills are combined and reconciled and then brought to a final vote. If we were forced to speculate, we’d guess that the legislation will pass late this year, the QCD enhancements indeed will make it into the final bill, and the legislation will be signed into law later this year. Our fingers are crossed, as no doubt yours are as well, because we are huge fans of the QCD and its ability to unlock charitable dollars.
The team at CFGC is a resource and sounding board as you serve your clients with charitable intent. We understand the charitable side of the equation and are happy to serve as a secondary source as you manage the primary relationship with your clients. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.
Professional Advisor Newsletter
Greetings from the community foundation!
As global and national events continue to remind us about what’s really important, our board of trustees and staff remain deeply and increasingly committed to deploying the power of giving to create positive change in the world.
Recently, we reflected on a 2017 Forbes post about the important role community foundations play in responding to tragedies and disasters. Still relevant nearly five years later, this article offers a simple review of the ways our community foundation and other community foundations across the country are uniquely qualified to address global issues with local impact, and local issues with global impact, through a combination of deep community knowledge and charitable giving expertise. The short article may also be worth sharing with clients who are building philanthropic legacies now and for their families’ future generations.
Thank you for trusting the community foundation to help you stay current on legislative changes that impact charitable giving, trends in philanthropy, and planning techniques. We look forward to continuing to help you serve your philanthropic clients by offering solutions to address local, national, and global needs, as well as helping your clients build legacies across generations.
–Julie Buck, CAP®
Planning for retirement and giving to charity: Intertwined solutions in economically puzzling times
Retirement planning no doubt is an important discussion topic during client meetings every year. In recent months, though, you may have observed an uptick in clients’ questions about their plans for retirement, perhaps related to:
–Required minimum distributions (“RMDs”) from qualified retirement plans, including questions prompted by media coverage of pending legislation known as SECURE 2.0;
–Stability of retirement investments, a topic that is widely covered in mainstream financial news; and
Against this backdrop, the issues become particularly complex for philanthropic clients. Here are answers to questions you may be asking:
What’s going on with updates to the charitable giving components proposed in the SECURE 2.0 Act?
Right now, SECURE 2.0 includes a provision that would index the $100,000 Qualified Charitable Distribution (“QCD”) allowance for inflation and also expand the technique to allow for a one-time transfer of $50,000 to a charitable remainder trust or other split-interest vehicle. But those enhancements are not the law, yet. Overall, the legislation appears to stand a good chance of becoming law. Still, a lot can happen as the House and Senate reconcile their respective bills before the legislation heads to President Biden for signature.
So what should I be telling my clients about the potential changes to the Qualified Charitable Distribution rules? Or should I say nothing?
For clients who are seriously considering a QCD, it may be worth mentioning these potential enhancements. But in general, it’s usually more confusing than helpful to bring up pending legislation, no matter how exciting. Instead, consider placing your focus on the QCD rules as they currently stand. The QCD already is a strong planning tool.
When should I reach out to the community foundation for help with QCDs?
The answer is, anytime! The community foundation can help establish a qualifying fund to receive your client’s Qualified Charitable Distribution, regardless of whether the SECURE 2.0 enhancements become law. The recipient fund can’t be a donor-advised fund, but there are other very effective options.
With interest rates rising, are there particular techniques that I should be discussing with my clients who are planning for retirement and are charitable inclined?
Yes. Now is a good time to consider talking with these clients about charitable gift annuities. A charitable gift annuity, like any other annuity, is a contract. Your client agrees to make an irrevocable transfer of cash or assets to a charitable organization. In return, the charitable organization agrees to pay the client (or the client’s designated beneficiary) a fixed payment for life. Your client is eligible for an immediate income tax deduction for the present value of the future amount passing to charity.
What if my client needs the tax deduction this year but won’t be retiring for several years?
Charitable gift annuities offer flexibility, in that your client may choose to structure the contract as a “deferred gift annuity,” meaning that the client starts receiving payments at a future date (or upon a future event such as retirement), rather than immediately while the client's effective income tax rate may still be high. In this way, the charitable gift annuity can be a tax-savvy component of an overall retirement plan.
How do rising interest rates factor in?
Client discussions about charitable gift annuities are especially timely because the American Council on Gift Annuities recently voted to increase the “rate of return assumption” used as guidelines for maximum payout rates. Effective on July 1, 2022, the return assumption will increase from 3.75% to 4.5%. This means that the Council’s suggested payout rates will be going up. That’s good news for a client’s income stream.
What’s the bottom line on this?
The net-net here is that rising interest rates make the charitable gift annuity an even more attractive tool for clients who want to combine charitable planning with retirement planning. The team at the community foundation can help you evaluate this option to determine if it is a good fit for your client.
Playbook: Helping clients organize their giving through a donor-advised fund
Your clients will arrive in 15 minutes. You’re reviewing the file. Everything is in order. The estate planning documents are up to date, you’re ready to share the latest investment results, and you are prepared to debrief the 2021 tax season and make tax planning recommendations for the remainder of this year. It sounds pretty typical up to this point, right?
As you continue to scroll through the materials, you see the names of several charitable organizations that your clients have supported every year for at least a decade. Ah ha! This is an opportunity to add even more value to your clients. Easy for a busy advisor to overlook, charitable giving habits are actually an important window into helping a client make planning decisions around their philanthropic intentions.
Here’s a simple playbook to guide you through a client conversation to begin establishing a charitable giving plan using a donor-advised fund at the community foundation:
–Call your clients’ attention to their charitable giving history. They might not even be aware of how much they are giving or how long they’ve been supporting their favorite charities.
–Gather more information about why the clients support those particular causes. Family tradition? Past involvement as a beneficiary of an organization’s services? Desire to impact a particular area of need?
–Talk with your clients about their community involvement. Do they serve on any boards of directors? Do they volunteer at local organizations?
–Review any charitable giving provisions in the current will or trust. Are the clients leaving a bequest to favorite charities?
–Ask your clients if they’ve ever considered organizing their giving through a donor-advised fund. If they are not familiar with donor-advised funds, perhaps offer a quick primer, and certainly offer to introduce the client to a member of the community foundation team.
–Briefly mention that a donor-advised fund can be an effective alternative to a private foundation, thanks to fewer expenses to establish and maintain, maximum tax benefits (higher AGI limitations and fair market valuation for contributing hard-to-value assets), no excise taxes, and confidentiality (including the ability to grant anonymously to charities).
–Also mention that a donor-advised fund at the community foundation is frequently a more effective choice than a donor-advised fund offered through a brokerage firm (such as Fidelity or Schwab). That’s because, at a community foundation, the donor is part of a community of giving and has opportunities to collaborate with other donors who share similar interests. In addition, the donor is supported in strategic grant making, family philanthropy, and opportunities to gain deep knowledge about local issues and nonprofits making a difference.
Finding the good, giving as a wealth strategy, and an open invitation
It can be hard to see the good in people as heartbreaking exceptions seem to dominate modern life, but it is worth remembering that philanthropy–”love of humanity”--is alive and well. A study at Stanford University indicates that a sense of community and calls to action help align people around common values. Indeed, high-profile examples of philanthropy, from Carnegie Hall to the manatees, help reinforce the notion that people can turn altruism into action through their leadership and financial resources.
What’s more, nearly two-thirds of high net-worth philanthropists agree that charitable giving is part of their overall wealth strategy, according to a recently-released study by BNY Mellon reporting the results of a survey of individuals with investable assets of at least $5 million. Once again, the takeaway here for advisors is that it is important in any situation to at least ask whether the client would like to incorporate charitable giving into their financial and estate plans. If the answer is yes, the team at the community foundation is just a phone call away to provide guidance and serve as a sounding board.
Your clients’ charitable intentions, coupled with the community foundation’s ability to structure donor-advised funds and other charitable giving vehicles to meet your clients’ financial and community impact goals, create many opportunities for us to work together. The offer is always open for our team to stop by your office over breakfast, lunch, or even as a midday break to exchange ideas. We’d love to help you help your clients make a difference in our community.
The team at the community foundation is a resource and sounding board as you serve your philanthropic clients. We understand the charitable side of the equation and are happy to serve as a secondary source as you manage the primary relationship with your clients. This newsletter is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.