Give back

Do you know Phil? Did your advisor introduce you to Phil? Have you made sure your family knows how important Phil is to you?

We are talking about the same Phil, right? Phil-Anthropy – how you make a difference by supporting nonprofit organizations that are important to you.

Make a list. How many nonprofit organizations have you helped in the last year, through the recession, during your lifetime? As a leader in your business and your community, you support charitable organizations by providing time, talent and/or treasure. Is that enough?

Perhaps you have provided for your alma mater, religious organization, children’s school, the arts, an environmental cause, or a disease- or socioeconomic-focused organization. What happens if you are not here to support them? Hopefully you realize they are counting on you to plan for their future – just like your family and business associates.

Write it down. If you have not put in writing your wishes to provide for those organizations that have been important during your lifetime, then the organizations and those that count on them are out of luck when you are not here to fill that desk chair.

However, writing it down is not enough. Proper estate planning, including discussing the pros and cons of various techniques, is the only way to have philanthropy work the way you want it to for the future.

Make it a win-win. Yes, your family might decide to give something to an organization after you are gone. Unfortunately, you and they may miss out on a win-win opportunity – the favorable tax treatment that comes along with being generous – during your lifetime … and after.

What to do. Don’t miss an opportunity to help those you care about. Get your estate plan updated. Contact your trusted advisor – attorney, accountant, banker or trust officer. They likely know an estate planning expert with the resources to guide you through values-based planning – financial planning centered on you and what is valuable to you.

Don’t wait. Your family is counting on you now and beyond…as are those nonprofits that need to get their Phil.

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