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Bequest Management

How Hiring an Attorney Can Benefit Your Charity’s Bequest

June 20, 2019
How Hiring an Attorney Can Benefit Your Charity’s Bequest

Helping Donors with Charitable Giving in the Estate Administration Process

Overall, estate administration and planned giving can be complex processes that are often difficult to navigate. However, a 2013 study showed how lawyers can help facilitate charitable giving in estate planning. Namely, when lawyers asked clients specific questions regarding charitable giving, the results were significant:

  • Attorneys who provided no reminder or inquiry to their clients about possibly benefiting a charity in their estate plan resulted in 4.9 percent of those clients including a charity in their plans
  • Attorneys who asked their clients, “would you like to leave any money to a charity in your will?” resulted in 10.8 percent of clients including a charity.
  • Attorneys who said, “many of our clients like to leave money to a charity in their will. Are there causes you are passionate about?” resulted in 15.4 percent of clients including a charity.

Therefore, attorneys play an important role in reminding, guiding, and assisting donors in their charitable giving. Hiring an experienced attorney to assist in drafting an estate plan will also save donors time and money. Without an estate plan, donors may end up paying more long-term when it comes to professional fees, court costs, and taxes. Additionally, the federal government, state governments, and agencies like the IRS are constantly changing the rules in regards to estate administration and charitable giving. As such, it is important to have someone who is up to date and aware of these changes helping to ensure your wishes are upheld. Like the laws and regulations, donors’ lives are always changing as well, requiring estate plans to adapt. Ultimately, hiring an attorney will benefit donors and beneficiaries alike.

Helping Charities with Bequests

While it is beneficial for donors to enlist the help of an experienced attorney when dealing with estate planning and administration, it is also beneficial for charities and non-profit organizations to hire attorneys focused on bequest management. For charities and non-profit organizations planned giving represents a growing source of funding for their important work. Unfortunately, distributions to charities are often delayed, inaccurate, or disputed. Generally speaking, a team of experienced attorneys and professionals can proactively ensure that your organization honors your donor’s wishes, accelerate the distribution of their gifts, and maximize the impact of the donor’s generosity.

What Will Attorneys Do on Behalf of the Charity?

Attorneys will work on behalf of your charity to do the following:

Relieve You of the Administrative Burden That Comes with the Receipt of Bequests

During the estate administration process, attorneys can identify the donor’s representative (e.g. Executor, Administrator, Trustee, Attorney), work directly with the representative to identify and confirm the bequest (through documentation when possible) and expedite distribution. Attorneys can remain involved on your charity’s behalf through the entire estate administration process, serving as a resource to you and the donor’s representative. They can also work with financial institutions and life insurance companies to facilitate bequests of specific assets, including retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities, from donors.

Maximize Distributions by Facilitating the Administration Process

In addition to facilitating accurate and prompt distribution, attorney involvement can serve to deter the occasional, but sometimes inevitable, unlawful actions of others that might otherwise contravene the intent of the donor and negatively impact the gift to your charity. Should an issue arise that may impact your bequest, attorneys can develop resolutions that facilitate the intent of the donor and ensure that you receive the maximum benefit possible.

Scrutinize All Bequests Correspondence to Safeguard Your Charity’s Legal and Financial Interests

Complications may arise during the administration of an estate, including tax issues, unresponsive personal representatives, or disputes (including litigation) brought on by family members or creditors. Attorneys can obtain and review all gift instruments, probate documents, tax returns, and financial statements relating to your bequest. Furthermore, attorneys are experienced in identifying potential legal issues and protecting your interest in the estate. In the event that a bequest becomes the subject of a dispute or litigation, a team of experienced attorneys can handle or manage any situation which may arise.

Nurture the relationships That Families Have with Your Charity and Promote a Pattern of Giving in Future Generations

Bequests to charitable organizations are a personal choice for donors and their families. Families may already have an established relationship with your organization. Attorneys can help to maintain this relationship for future generations and promote a pattern of giving by respecting the intent of the donor and ensuring that the donor’s wishes are fulfilled.

Do You Think Hiring an Attorney Would Benefit Your Charity or Non-Profit’s Bequests?

Managing your charity or non-profit’s bequests can be challenging and time-consuming. At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, we help to maximize your distributions while alleviating your administrative strain. Contact us today for a free case evaluation at 800-544-9144.