I’m just back from NCPP- the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning. One topic of discussion was the impact on fundraising of the virtual elimination of the estate tax. In his session, Robert Sharpe of the Sharpe Group noted that with new higher limits, the estate tax no longer applies to 96% of estates.
Is this good news or bad news for charities? Robert Sharpe’s verdict is that it’s good news- if charitable gift planners are ready to get creative. The days of using “estate tax avoidance” as a motivator for planned gifts are gone.
But let’s face it- that was never the most critical motivation anyway. Donors make gifts because they are passionate about the work you do. And the silver lining is, with fewer estates being taxed, there are more dollars that can be passed along to heirs and charities. This will be very good news for charities, especially if they are listed contingent of residual beneficiaries. Why? Because once family members are provided for, there should be more money left over that used to go to the government in estate taxes.
Let’s stop lamenting the changes in estate tax because we’ve lost one of the small motivations for giving. And let’s start having meaningful discussions with donors about what changes they want to see in the world… and how the dollars that used to go to Uncle Sam can go to Aunt Sue’s favorite charity.
– Posted by Kathy Swayze, CFRE