Thirty Percent of All Estate Gifts Go Away
When the death of a close friend, parent, or spouse is imminent, often individuals close to them are approached by a financial planner who alerts them that their friend or family member has named a nonprofit in the estate. They may ask, innocently enough: “Might it be better if John or Mary were to void that gift so that the survivors can decide on the best use of that money?”
There may be situations where that question is reasonable and ethical, but there are many more where it is not.
The survivors are presented with a dilemma. They can make a request of their dying loved one to change their bequest or, if they have Power of Attorney, they may be able to make the change. Unless all heirs are prepared for the question, a financial planner can make a very convincing case. In fact, research reveals that as much as 30 percent of all estates are not fulfilled.
At Hartsook we recommend the following:
- Stay close to your donors over the years.
- Make sure donors convey their wishes and express why they made the estate gift in the first place.
- Don’t let a donor’s death deter you from standing up for his or her rights and wishes.
If an heir would be put at a clear disadvantage because of the gift to the estate, do the moral and ethical thing, but don’t let this happen without knowing the circumstances.
Around 97% of all estates are bequest or trust distribution. While these are discretionary, having a signed Statement of Testamentary Intent with an estimated value of the estate gives you some leverage since you might be able to advance your claim as part of the estate.
Your loyalties are to your donors and to the organizations they cared about enough to remember in their estates. Remember them.
Next stops on the road to achieving Hartsook’s mission of growing philanthropy by 25 percent in the next 20 years:
May 23-25, 2018
Boy Scouts of America Annual Meeting
June 6-7, 2018
LeadingAge Virginia Annual Conference
June 18-19, 2018
NHH – Norwegian School of Economics
June 21-22, 2018
National Taiwan University
June 25-26, 2018
BX2018, Australian Government
Keynote: John List
August 13-24, 2018
August 29-31, 2018
Boy Scouts of America Top Hands
September 19-20, 2018
Science of Philanthropy Institute Conference 2018
September 26-29, 2018
American Association for State and Local History Annual Meeting
Donor-Focused Fundraising: Letting Research Guide Your Organization’s Philanthropy
Matthew J. Beem
Debbie Bass, National WWI Museum and Memorial
October 5-6, 2018
Advances with Field Experiments
October 16-18, 2018
University of Basel
8th Bernoulli Lecture for the Behavioral Sciences
Resources for Smart Fundraising Available on Kindle
Keep up to date on the latest fundraising trends with the Kindle ASR Media collection:
- Reality Fundraising – Ideas, insights and lessons learned through hundreds of best practices from nonprofit professionals nationwide by Bob Hartsook
- Fundraising Leadership – The definitive source for empowering board members to become pro-active fundraising leaders by Karin L. Cox
- Getting Your Ducks in a Row – A tool box of strategies for effective campaign fundraising by Bob Hartsook
- Million Dollar Gifts – Real-life stories of million-dollar gifts that will amaze and inspire your fundraising by Bob Hartsook
- Closing that Gift – “29 secrets” to closing a gift and avoiding the top 10 solicitation mistakes by Bob Hartsook
- Performance-Driven Fundraising – Handy, yet entertaining reference tool for new and seasoned fundraisers by Matthew J. Beem
- Nobody Wants to Give Money Away! – Stories, humor and more than two decades of fundraising experience in which Bob explores the nine fundraising truths essential to success by Bob Hartsook
- On The Money! – An enlightening collection of success stories and lessons learned from nonprofit fundraising campaigns nationwide by Bob Hartsook
- $231 Billion Raised and Counting – by Bob Hartsook, Matthew J. Beem, Karin Cox and over a dozen Hartsook consultants and clients. Hartsook shares stories and “Strategies for Success” that will educate and inspire
Book Deal of the Month
Fundraising Leadership: The Essential Guide for Nonprofit Board Members Who Want to Make a Lasting Difference (ASR Media) – an exciting book by Karin L. Cox – is the definitive source for empowering board members to become pro-active fundraising leaders. Click here for a special price of $10 (plus shipping and handling).
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Strategies for Success explores smart ideas, connecting with thousands of fundraising professionals. We welcome your best practices contributions or comments. Send to Strategies for Success editor Karin Cox, [email protected]. If you’d like a free subscription to Strategies for Success or its monthly companion, eHartsook on Philanthropy, contact [email protected].