Planned Giving: What You Should Know

Planned Giving: What You Should Know
Photo by Jamie Girll/Getty Images

(This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)

 

The MOAA Scholarship Fund and The MOAA Foundation work closely with the General Counsel’s office and the Finance Department to ensure wills and trusts naming them as beneficiaries are properly stewarded. We are most concerned with honoring the donor’s intentions and putting the funds to use for scholarships, grants, or other appropriate charitable works chosen by the
donor.

 

We recently have taken steps — including hiring outside counsel as needed — to protect several estates and receive the proper accounting. We also are
happy to report the foundation recently received a gift of an IRA, the first planned gift for this MOAA charity.

 

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Why do people choose to include MOAA’s charities in their wills or trusts? For many, it is knowing we make good use of our charitable gifts. For example, Lt. Col. Donald Catron, USA (Ret), and his wife, Connie Catron, Legacy Circle members, support the Scholarship Fund because they know all the money raised supports the students.

 

If you are staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have found additional hours in your day. This could be because you are no longer commuting, needing to fill the car with gas, or having to stop off at the dry cleaners. It may be the perfect time to review your estate planning documents. Nearly every law firm is able to work with you remotely, answering your questions and addressing your concerns through email and
phone conversations.

 

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If you are concerned about how your assets will hold up during these turbulent times and want to provide for family, friends, and charities through planned gifts, it may be prudent to provide percentage share gifts (i.e., 20% to __) rather than set dollar amounts ($10,000 to __ ). This ensures all of your beneficiaries receive equal treatment as your assets grow or shrink.

 

With social distancing, it is prudent to limit visits to banks and other financial institutions, but most donors can change the beneficiary designations on their IRAs, qualified pension plans, and life insurance policies from home. Many of these changes can be made online or by completing a standard form and sending it to the plan administrator. This is also true for naming a charity on a CD at your bank and for a number of other assets.

 

There are important reasons why gifts from an IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) can make a great deal of sense to most donors, including income reduction, tax deductions, and ease of transfer.

 

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About the Author

Andrea Rand
Andrea Rand

Andrea Rand is the executive director of the MOAA Scholarship Fund. She has a wealth of experience working with record management data systems and helping military personnel and their families with estate planning, state and federal tax return issues, and access to military benefits.