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P. L. A. N. Your Gift

By Jackie Jacobs

Planned giving is the process of making a charitable gift in a way that provides maximum benefit to the charity and the donor – as well as others who may be involved. Such gifts usually involve major assets and thus require thoughtful consideration.

While making a well-planned gift can be challenging and somewhat time-consuming, it can also be one of life’s most satisfying experiences. Here are four steps to guide you in making a fulfilling planned gift.

Ponder. Consider what you would like to accomplish with your gift. What is your purpose? Why do you want to make the gift?  Explore you motivations and expectations.

Review your assets, especially those that have appreciated in value. What can you afford to give without jeopardizing retirement and emergency needs?  Consider your family and other obligations.

Do you need lifetime income from your gift? Do you need tax relief? Do you want to create a legacy through an endowment fund?

Mull all of this over in your mind and jot down key thoughts. Good planning begins with unhurried refection, creative thinking, and goal setting.

Learn. The second step is to gather information and advice. Contact the charity and request literature. Better yet, invite a planned giving officer to come and visit you. Share your ponderings and let the representative outline a gift arrangement that helps you meet your objectives.

Once you have acquired an understanding of the gift vehicle and have satisfied yourself that it fits your plans, seek the counsel of a trusted advisor. This is especially important with sizable gifts and complicated arrangements.

When you have obtained the information you need and feel comfortable with a decision to proceed, move to the next step and …

Act. Following through to actually make a planned gift can be the hardest part of the process, especially when the gift is irrevocable. The thought of giving up a cherished asset can also cause hesitation.

Whatever your situation, the action step will come easier if you have taken the time to ponder carefully your objectives and have acquired sufficient knowledge to know that the gift arrangement is good. The Act of giving a well-planned gift can be exhilarating!

Notify. Once you complete your planned gift, contact the charity and let them know.

The reason gift notification is important – and brings closure to the gift plan – is that it permits the charity to respond to you with appropriate recognition. Also, knowing that a planned gift has been made helps them to look ahead in their planning and projections. A further reason is the positive effects this news has on others who may be considering a planned gift to the charity.

Learn all you can from a planned giving specialist and your trusted advisors. Armed with sufficient information and a sense of rightness, make your gift confidently and joyfully.

To receive our free brochure on charitable giving and estate planning, contact me at jjacobs@tcjf.org or 614-338-2365.

Jackie Jacobs is the Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Jewish Foundation, the Central Ohio Jewish community’s planned giving and endowment headquarters.

Article appears as originally published in the Ohio Jewish Chronicle, March 5, 2015.

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