hand holding growing money

Three Pivotal Questions for Your Clients

Asking good questions is the best way to get good answers.

By Jan Lane

Summer 2019

Asking good questions is the best way to get good answers. In fact, some questions are pivotal and change the direction of a relationship going forward. Following are three pivotal questions to ask if you want to be a resource for your clients on incorporating charity into their financial or estate plan. YOU CAN ASK YOUR CLIENTS:

  1. DO YOU HAVE CHARITIES THAT YOU SUPPORT ON AN ANNUAL BASIS?
  • You may already know this based on your history and interactions with your clients. If you prepare or review their tax returns, you may be able to tell from their itemized charitable deductions. 
  • If they say “yes”, ask questions like “What do you like about that charity?” or “What is the story behind your support for that charity?” and then listen. 
  • They may even be looking forward to spending more time volunteering for this charity in retirement. Learn how they interact with the charity now and what their plans are for the future.
  1. DO YOU WANT TO INCLUDE ANY OF THESE CHARITIES IN YOUR FINANCIAL OR ESTATE PLAN?
  • You can start by sharing the short video at 5forcny.org that explains how leaving a portion of their estate to the organizations they care about could make a large difference in Central New York. 
  • Next, you could explain how they can continue their annual support of a charity in perpetuity by contributing enough to endow that gift. For example, if a client gives $1,000 a year to their favorite charity, a gift of about $25,000 from their estate could create an endowed fund that could produce at least that amount each year, forever. 
  • If a client is concerned about income in retirement, a gift could be made now that creates an income stream in retirement for the client and leaves a lump sum to their charity of choice when they pass away.
  1. IF WE COULD SHIFT TAX DOLLARS TO CHARITABLE DOLLARS IN YOUR PLANNING. WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN EXPLORING THAT?
  • Who wouldn’t want that? From your charitable client’s perspective, you may be the best advisor ever! 
  • In many cases, the income tax and estate tax charitable deductions triggered by a charitable gift will save money. Every dollar donated to a qualifying nonprofit is one less that goes to the government. It’s that simple. 
  • The Community Foundation can discuss client situations with you and prepare illustrations for you to share with them. These illustrations clearly demonstrate the tax savings created by a current or planned gift.

ONCE YOU HAVE THIS DISCUSSION WITH YOUR CLIENTS. YOU CAN COUNT ON US TO SERVE AS A DELIVERABLES TEAM MEMBER FOR YOU.

  • For instance, we can work with your clients to create their legacy plans. We strive to help individuals who care about this community to be remembered by it. Your clients can work with us using guided writing exercises and values-based discussions to document their personal giving story and wishes for the future use of their charitable legacy funds. 
  • The Community Foundation has been fulfilling the charitable wishes of people in our community since 1927. Your clients will know that even 100 years after they are gone, their gifts will be actively achieving their goals and their stories will live on. 
  • Legacy planning can be much more than a simple bequest. There are a variety of techniques available for your clients who want to provide for loved ones, reduce taxes and support worthy causes. We would welcome the opportunity to work with you and your clients to find the best way to achieve their charitable goals.

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