Principal Nancy Georgen was recently featured in the January 30 edition of Ladue News in the article, “Leaving a Legacy: Make Your Gift Matter.” Read the article below or by clicking here.
By Brittany Nay
Throughout your lifetime, you’ve worked hard building your wealth. Now, it’s time to leave a legacy through your greatest passions. But whether you plan to give to health care, education or the arts, how can you ensure your gift makes the biggest possible impact?
Local financial experts say making an impactful charitable donation is all in the planning. “If the money is not in a good program, and if there’s not a good steward to make sure the funds go where they are planned, then the charity is not going to have a good impact,” notes Nancy Georgen, a principal at Moneta Group.
Georgen says donors first should answer these crucial questions:
- Who are the charities you want to benefit? Is your passion your alma mater, a health organization, a religious institution or an environmental issue?
- What is the amount of your donation? Communicate with family to settle upon a number that will not cause resentment or distress related to children’s inheritance.
- When will you make the donation? Will the gift be part of your estate plan to be carried out upon your death, or do you have the financial means to give an impactful donation during your lifetime?
- Where is the donation going? Will it go through a private or community foundation, trust fund or donor-advised fund?
- Why are you selecting the beneficiary? What do you want to accomplish with this gift?
If a donor can complete the upfront planning and research associated with these questions, Georgen says that hard-earned gift will make the best impact.
Jim Cornfeld, a wealth adviser at Buckingham Asset Management, also advises donors to consult a financial advisor, a tax accountant or an estate-planning attorney who has experience with the regulations, options and tax implications relevant to making a major gift. Charitable donations also can benefit the donor through tax deductions, he notes.
And when choosing the vehicle for the gift, first consider the amount, advisers say. A public or private charitable foundation or trust fund typically applies to a donation of more than $1 million, while Cornfeld says donor-advised funds are another good option that can include gift amounts in the thousands or millions. “There are a lot of expenses associated with foundations and trust funds. With donor-advised funds, you get all the benefits of a foundation without the huge expenses.” A financial adviser can help determine the best way to manage donor-advised funds, he adds.
The benefits of a gift can extend far beyond helping a charity today. Donors should determine the timing of their donations, such as annual gifts, and they should be sure to include maintenance costs so their charity of choice can flourish into the future, Georgen notes.
All things considered, advisers remind donors that the most important part of charitable donations is the feeling of giving back. “If the donor doesn’t have a real passion for the cause or institution,” Georgen says, “he or she is not going to get the same joy out of the gift.”