Professional Advisors' Reference Library

"Free Insurance": Problems and Pitfalls in the Charitable Sector
Life insurance is a powerful and positive charitable tool—but only if used properly in the right circumstances by a charitable organization that is prepared to screen, monitor and treat its insurance investments as it treats other investment assets. More

Always a Day Away
The charitable remainder trust, and its many variations, remains a valuable tool for the charitably minded. More

Choosing the Right Charitable Remainder Trust
Improve income for yourself and others, make an income tax charitable deduction and avoid capital gains taxes with an irrevocable charitable remainder trust. More

Gift Planning Basics: Matching Methods to Motives
Clients have a variety of reasons for considering a significant charitable gift. Fortunately our tax structure and its incentives for philanthropy have developed an equally varied array of giving methods. More

Lessons From the Experts
Charitable planning can be one of the most satisfying areas in which an advisor can practice. Charitable planning is a specialty, however, with technical rules and an abundance of potential pitfalls. The purpose of this article is to alert you to some of the pitfalls you may encounter, enabling you to do a better job for your clients. More

How Investment Decisions Affect Life Income Gifts
Anyone involved in the creation or planning of life income gifts knows that 2000–2003 were the most challenging years since the Tax Reform Act of 1969 codified the rules regarding these gifts. The coupling of a significant equity market pullback and the lowest fixed interest rates in 45 years has created challenges for the maintenance of donor relations and establishment of new gift plans, and has created discomfort for fiduciaries managing ongoing gifts. More

The Charitable Lead Trust: A Phenomenal Estate Planning Tool
Of all the charitable planning tools, the charitable lead trust (CLT) is one of the more beneficial types of gifts. But, because of its complexity, it is also one of the least utilized planned gifts. More

Maximize Memorials for a Lasting Influence
Individuals who want to make memorial gifts in honor of a loved one need our compassionate guidance as advisors during a difficult time. Using the proper techniques, as professional advisors we can direct donors toward a much more influential and meaningful gift than they may originally have in mind. Memorial gifts can bring a sense of togetherness, closure and satisfaction to your clients. More

The QTIP Trust--Benefiting the Blended Family
The QTIP trust provides great flexibility in federal estate tax planning particularly for "blended families" that include children from a previous marriage. If you have a client who wants to provide for a spouse, yet also wants to make sure any money remaining at death returns to his or her own children, read on to find out the requirements for a QTIP, the options available and what obstacles to avoid. More

A Guide to Early Termination of a Charitable Remainder Trust
Many clients feel a great sense of satisfaction upon the creation of a charitable remainder trust (CRT). After the newness wears off, however, some CRT income and remainder beneficiaries wish to terminate their trusts. More

Misconceptions About Living Wills, Health Care Proxies and End-of-Life Decisions
The tragedy of Terri Schiavo and the publicized legal battle that emerged between her family members about whether to withdraw life-sustaining measures, caused millions of clients to rush into preparing end-of-life documents. More

Charitable Planning Mistakes to Avoid
This article highlights specific areas of the charitable planning process where mistakes seem to recur based on the authors' combined experiences. As you read through the article, mistakes from the seasoned professional to the charitable planning novice are highlighted. By sharing these real-life situations, the authors hope to disperse knowledge, not from the painful school of hard knocks, but from the less painful old cliche, "learn from the mistakes of others." More

Strategies That Use Life Insurance as a Charitable Component
Any nonprofit organization would welcome a generous donation from one of your clients. Cash and marketable securities are often the most liquid assets used to help sustain an organization's operations. Planned gifts, however, can be funded with many types of assets, including life insurance. More

Testamentary Gifts to Help Children and Grandchildren
Several types of charitable techniques are available to donors whose planning goals are twofold: one, to provide benefits to the donor's favorite charitable organizations, and two, to financially assist the donor's children and grandchildren. More

Charitable Remainder Trusts: Robust Yet Underused Scenarios
Charitable gifts, like financial plans, should be tailored to individual circumstances and can often improve the client's position. This article features novel client situations in which a charitable remainder trust (CRT) is used to save the day. As is true with any creative planning idea, these techniques work in these particular circumstances, but they hopefully will lead you to recommend a charitable gift, particularly a CRT, in situations where it may not be immediately obvious. More

Family and Charitable Planning for Retirement Accounts
The Department of Treasury has improved and simplified regulations that govern mandatory distributions from qualified retirement plan accounts. The regulations reduced the minimum annual distributions that must be made during a person's retirement years, so more money remains in the plan for future needs. They also made it simpler for family, friends and charitable organizations to obtain flexible payout arrangements after the account owner's death. More

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