Estate planning should be a thoughtful and methodical process and be revisited on a regular basis to determine if your goals and objectives continue to be met.
“When we’re talking with our clients, we often use the term ‘holistic planning,’” says Byron Woodman, co-founder and president of The Monument Group Companies, a Concord firm that provides financial/investment, tax and estate planning. “Many of our clients are philanthropic, so they come to us with general ideas about supporting certain charities,” says Byron. “We help them accomplish their wishes.”
“It’s our Master Plan concept,” adds Lee McGowan, managing director, CCO and partner at Monument Group Wealth Advisors, noting that his view of financial planning broadened when he joined the firm almost nine years ago. “Clients realize the benefit of integrating estate planning with their financial and income tax planning.
“When people say they want to name a certain charity in their will or trust, depending on the client’s circumstances, we suggest they make the charity a beneficiary of a portion of their IRA instead,” says Lee. “This generally provides a similar estate tax deduction as a bequest from the will or trust. By naming the charity as an IRA beneficiary, there could be an added benefit to the final gross estate that is transferred to the family, since no federal or state income tax is paid by the estate, due to the assets distributed to the charity from the IRA.”
Byron first introduced Lee to Emerson Hospital by inviting him to one of the hospital’s major events: the unveiling of the cancer center’s new linear accelerator. Now Lee plays a role as a corporator — a role he enjoys.
“I’ve been a corporator, representing Sudbury, since 2011,” says Lee. “I find it’s easy to speak positively about Emerson and its programs. The hospital has a lot to offer to all ages and across a range of clinical needs. It keeps evolving.”
Both men are members of Emerson’s Planned Giving Committee, and because each has made a planned gift to Emerson, they are members of the Casper Jenney Society. Mr. Jenney, who owned a Concord construction company, left a donation to Emerson that represented its first planned gift. Mr. Jenney’s donation remains one of the largest bequests ever received by the hospital.
Mr. Jenney started something powerful, because planned gifts have become an important source of support for Emerson. From Byron and Lee’s perspectives, there is much to be said for planned gifts — how they fit and what they accomplish — in the context of integrated financial, tax and estate planning.
“It’s true that, when people have gone through the estate planning process, and they understand and appreciate what their planning accomplishes, including leaving a meaningful donation to a charity they care about, there’s a sense of satisfaction,” says Byron.