A more strategic way for clients to give
By Bill Holland, Partner, Holland Beckett Law
CFNZ Board member
24 August 2017
As a lawyer I think it’s a privilege of developing what can be very strong and longstanding relationships with my clients. They come to us as trusted advisers, seeking guidance on a range of issues, and sometimes not of a strictly legal nature.
As professionals, it is definitely not for us to be telling clients what they should be doing in their Wills. It is incumbent on us however to fully advise our clients of options that are available when making a Will.
People without children who have worked hard to establish their financial security are sometimes genuinely frustrated at just not knowing what to do with their estates. For these people, the idea of making a positive difference to their community on a permanent basis by having income paid to their chosen charity every year forever, is a very attractive one.
Likewise, parents with children naturally want to help their children first, but many love the idea of leaving, say, 10% of their estate to their local community foundation to provide that same long-term benefit to their community.
As a lawyer, I often know my clients very well. When they seek my advice on their making their Wills, the discussion can often lead to charitable giving and I then explain that could be either a direct gift to a charity or a permanent endowment gift through a community foundation. My experience has been that most seem to prefer endowment giving.
I have never sensed any resentment from clients for having raised the option of charitable giving. On the contrary, I have had many clients who have become very enthusiastic. Not only have they made provision for in their Wills, but in many cases they have chosen to start giving while they are living. One client said, “It is better to give with a warm hand than a cold one”, but then she confessed that what was even better was getting the 33% tax refund on her gift!
If you are a lawyer or professional financial advisor and you are not familiar with your local community foundation already, I suggest that you get in touch. They are a powerful connector of generosity to local causes and, as a lawyer, your role in the process is key.