charitable giving presentation

If you’re a professional advisor (such as a financial advisor, insurance agent, attorney, or accountant, among others) looking for more information on how to advise your clients on smart charitable giving strategies, I’d love to speak with you and your colleagues. At every chance, I’m happy to share my firm’s mission to “maximize charitable giving in Iowa” with groups of any size!

rows of brown chairs

In terms of topics, there is actually very little in the area of charitable giving that I do not feel comfortable presenting about. So, if you have a specific subject in mind, do not hesitate to propose it. The following is a sampling of topics I’ve spoken about previously. I can easily combine multiple topics to best fit the presentation to the group’s objectives.

Planned Giving 101

  1. What is “planned giving?”
  2. Gifting during lifetime versus gifting at death
    • Advantages and disadvantages of each
    • Meet clients/donors “where they’re at”
  3. What 2017 federal tax legislation changed for charitable giving
    • Two huge challenges: charitable deduction & estate tax
  4. The seven basic estate planning documents everyone needs (and how charitable giving fits in)
  5. IRA Charitable Rollover & other gifting opportunities through retirement benefit plans
  6. The numerous benefits of the Endow Iowa Tax Credit
  7. Ins and outs of donor-advised funds
  8. Highly appreciated stock and other non-cash assets

Planned Giving 201 (Advanced Gift Types)

When I give presentations on advanced gift types, I also include a short summary of Planned Giving 101 topics.

  1. Charitable gift annuity (CGA)
  2. Charitable remainder trust (CRT)
  3. Charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT)
  4. Charitable remainder uni-trust (CRUT)
  5. Flip CRUT
  6. Charitable lead trust (CLT)
  7. Retained life estate

Working Together is Better

I can also speak to how nonprofit staff (most especially development officers) and professional advisors can best work together for mutual benefit and for the betterment of clients.

four people around a computer

Fundraising Ethics

Another topic I’ve also discussed in the past is the ethics of fundraising: how to spot warning signs of an impending ethical dilemma; the best ways to handle common ethics concerns; what actions to avoid; etc.

Exceed Client Expectations

If you present me with a list of your most top learning objectives, I would be happy to tailor a high-quality presentation to the group targeting those specific points. Really, any presentation related to charitable giving should be about what can make an impact in the lives and decisions of your clients. Let’s work together to help you and your team exceed client expectations and make an actionable impact on charitable giving in Iowa.

Contact me via email or phone (515-371-6077) to get your learning session planned and scheduled!

 

radio studio

On Halloween (10/31) my voice will be making a radio appearance on KCJJ 1630 AM‘s “Senior Talk” program hosted by Rex Brandstatter! We’ll be talking on the importance of estate planning for seniors, as well as the need-to-know information that ALL Iowans should know about creating a successful, quality plan for the future.

The program starts at 12:10 p.m. and will last for about 30 minutes. If you won’t be around a radio over the noon hour on 10/31, don’t worry as you can listen live via KCJJ’s YouTube channel. Plus, the program will be archived on YouTube after the show!

Hopefully my conversation will Rex will inspire you (and all of your family members and friends) to send those estate planning excuses to the graveyard. (Sorry, I had to get at least one spooky pun in there!) One of the best ways to get started on my five-step estate planning process is with the easy, free Estate Planning Questionnaire.

Gordon Fischer speaking at event

One aspect of running my own firm that I love is getting out and teaching groups of people. Just like mission, my presentations center on maximizing charitable giving. Be it through estate planning education, nonprofit board training, or sharing tools and resources for professional advisors, I’m always open to speaking at different organizations and events across the state of Iowa.

Gordon Fischer speaking at event

Here’s an example of a presentation I gave in a workshop open to the public, entitled “Basics of Estate Planning.” This presentation on clauses to include in an executive’s contract was focused toward a different audience—nonprofit employers. And just in case those samples weren’t enough, here’s a presentation I gave to my fellow estate planners on effectively including digital assets in plans. Of course, I modify my content so it’s applicable to the event, organization, and audience.

So, if you’re in need of a speaker on any topic related to my core services, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at gordon@gordonfischerlawfirm.com or give me a call at 515-371-6077 to discuss your upcoming event and potential speaking topics.

feedbackk survey

I could use your opinions! As a lawyer who strives to maximize charitable giving in Iowa (the mission of Gordon Fischer Law Firm), estate plans are a regular part of my job. But, for most people, estate planning isn’t a normal part of the day-to-day. So, I am doing research on how and why people obtain estate plans and would appreciate if you could take three minutes (or less!) to share your thoughts and experiences with me. The goal of this survey is to gather candid feedback and varying perspectives on this topic. Note that the survey is completely anonymous and confidential.

Click here to take the short survey.

 

sitting on dock at lake

There’s been a lot going on in the news lately and we could all definitely use a ray of bright light in our lives right now. For me, positivity came in the form of an article written by Ken Fusion about my father, Dieter Fischer. My dad passed away earlier this year in March, and this article captured highlights of my father’s legacy he built. He was a hard-working immigrant from Germany who came to the U.S. in 1960 with his wife (my mom). Not only did he love his family, but he also loved America and, in a way, was the true embodiment of the “American dream.” You can read the full article here, if you’re interested!

Gordon with family at bar swearing in

With my mom, wife, and dad at the Iowa Bar swearing in ceremony, 1994

This is all to say that considering the legacy you want to leave is a key part of estate planning. It’s beneficial and can even be uplifting to consider how you want to be remembered and how you want to pass your proverbial torch on to the next generation. It’s less obvious because there’s no legal document you can pen to create this. A legacy is comprised of the memories you create, stories you share, people you love, and difference you make. This legacy can be cemented by giving your property to the people and charities you want, how and when you want.

Gordon with family on bench

A cherished photo from a great day a few years back with my mom, dad, and wife

Want to get started on your estate plan? A great place to start is with my free Estate Plan Questionnaire. Want to talk about your loved ones who have passed away? I understand where you’re coming from and would love to hear about how they’ve impacted you. Contact me at any time.

Man sitting at conference table with phone

The September edition of “The Iowa Lawyer” is now out! Published by the Iowa State Bar Association, this month focused entirely on retirement-related topics. According to the ISBA, there are approximately 2,300 ISBA members who are 60 and older. And, in Iowa in general, people age 65 or older comprise 16.7% of the population. Retiring is a whole different stage in life that can come with newfound challenges as well as benefits. While geared toward Iowa attorneys, many of the insights are applicable in other industries. For instance, succession planning is important for all business owners! Similarly, retirement is a time when charitable giving often gets a boost.

Iowa Lawyer September 2018

GFLF’s piece focuses on how you can use retirement benefit plans to benefit the charities and causes you care about in a strategic, tax-wise way. This is super important for all Iowans to know (not just attorneys!). In the article we focus in on three important tax concepts:

  1. Inheritance as income
  2. Income in respect of a decedent
  3. Step-up in basis (also called, stepped up basis)

You  can read the full article by clicking here and scrolling to page 23.

Retire with a Reason

Any questions after reading? Feel to explore more on the topic in our other blog posts on the subject or contact GFLF at any time to discuss by email, at gordon@gordonfischerlawfirm.com, or by phone at 515-371-6077.

August includes it’s fair share of obscure “holidays” including National Catfish Month, Friendship Week, and Bad Poetry Day. This month is also your chance to celebrate National Make-A-Will Month! (Yes, seriously. This is a thing.) I recommend celebrating this quite literal month by creating an estate plan. A will is one of six key documents in a quality, individualized estate plan. (If you were to elect to make a living revocable trust a part of your plan, then you would still need a will—often referred to as a pour-over will—it would just read a little different!)

national make-a-will month

Depending on your personal/family situation and assets, a will can be a bit more complicated and longer in page length than the other estate plan documents. It’s important you work with a lawyer experienced in estate planning to be sure your will covers the three major questions of:

  1. Who do you want to be the executor of your will? The executor is in charge of carrying out your directions and wishes as expressed in the will. They will also pay any outstanding debts and distribute assets as you express in the document.
  2. Who do you want to be the legal guardians for your minor children until they’re adults (age 18), if something were happen to you?
  3. What do you want done with both your tangible and intangible property? (An example of tangible property is your books or your boat. Intangible property includes assets like stocks.)

Yet another reason to work with a professional estate planner to craft a will is to avoid costly mistakes and to legitimately donate to your favorite charities.

Why Does a Will Matter?

I cannot reinforce enough that everyone NEEDS a will. Leaving your family and friends without a clearly written will in place can result in worst case scenarios such as litigation or confusion in who is to be the proper guardian of your minor child(ren). Real world examples of this are unfortunately all too common and no one is immune. For instance, Prince died without a will leaving family infighting and conflict.

Without a will the Iowa probate court is forced to name an executor and there is the possibility that the appointed executor is not who you would have chosen. It’s simply better not to gamble with who has control over dispersing your hard earned assets.

Regular Revisions

If you already have a will (and other necessary estate planning documents) congrats! You’re better prepared for the inevitable than about half of Americans. Yet, just because you created an estate plan at one point doesn’t mean it automatically adapts to how your life changes.

While estate plans never expire, for your will to be most effective it needs to be reviewed at least annually and updated as needed. Common scenarios for estate plan revisions can be a death in the family, change in marriage status, birth of a child, major changes in financial situation, and moving out of state.

Your estate plan should also be updated if your goals change over time. For example, you may want to alter the amounts of inheritance or increase/decrease charitable bequests.

Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

I would love to help you solidify your family’s future, help you achieve peace of mind, and celebrate Make-A-Will Month in the best way you can! The best place to start is by filling out my Estate Plan Questionnaire. It’s easy, free, and there’s no obligation. It’s simply a document that gets you thinking and planning. You can also contact me at any time via email (Gordon@gordonfischerlawfirm.com) or phone 515-371-6077.

Irrevocable life insurance trust clipboard

The August 2018 issue of the Iowa State Bar Association’s The Iowa Lawyer magazine was recently published. This edition includes GFLF’s piece on how irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs for short) can be a valuable estate planning tool. While the magazine is an industry publication for lawyers, this information is also incredible useful for anyone with life insurance as an asset.

Iowa Lawyer August 2018 cover

This month’s ISBA publication also includes interesting pieces on:

So, put on your reading glasses, click here, and scroll to page 22 to learn more about the challenges life insurance can pose in estate planning and the major benefits of ILITs. I would love to hear your feedback on the piece either in the comments below, or via email at gordon@gordonfischerlawfirm.com. Also, we’re open to any suggestions you may have for specific topics you would like to read about related to GFLF’s core services

people around table and computer

An opportunity for Iowa small business owners came across my desk that I want to share with as many people as possible!

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy is hosting a series of free, public roundtables across the U.S. They have three upcoming opportunities for Iowans.SBA Office of Advocacy

The schedule is as follows:

Council Bluffs, IA – Tuesday, July 17

Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM CDT

Location: Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs, IA 51501

Link to register

West Des Moines, IA – Wednesday, July 18

Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM CDT

Location: Drury Inn & Suites West Des Moines, 5505 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266

Link to register

Dubuque, IA – Thursday, July 19

Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM CDT

Location: Holiday Inn Dubuque/Galena, 450 Main St., Dubuque, IA 52001

Link to register

What’s the purpose of these roundtables?

The Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables will be a chance for small business owners and operators to share their regulation concerns with SBA Office of Advocacy senior staff.

As stated by the SBA Office of Advocacy, the Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables will have the following goals:

  1. Identify regional small business regulatory issues in order to assist agencies with regulatory reform and reduction in compliance with Executive Orders 13771 & 13777;
  2. Compile crucial information for Advocacy’s new report on existing small business regulatory burdens across the nation, identifying specific recommendations for regulatory changes based upon first-hand accounts from small businesses across the country; and
  3. Inform and educate the small business public as to how Advocacy and SBA can assist them with their small business goals

What is the SBA Office of Advocacy?

The SBA Office of Advocacy is an independent office that wears many hats in representing the needs and concerns of U.S. small businesses before the federal government, judicial system, and in working with state policymakers. For instance, the Office serves as a source of small business statistics and acts as a watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

What does GFLF have to do with small business owners?

Beyond passing along events and opportunities such as this, Gordon Fischer Law Firm works with Iowa business owners to help them put in place sound succession and estate plans. Whether it’s a tax-exempt or for-profit, GFLF can help leaders of Iowa entities ensure their operations are set-up for success in the future.

Questions? Comments? Don’t hesitate to contact GFLF.

What do you think of when you think of July? I think about family picnics, vacations, fireworks, the MLB All Star Game, the beach, hometown festivals, and a cold bottle of beer on a hot day.

But mostly I think of Independence Day!

The Fourth of July means a great deal to me as the son of immigrants, with both a mother and father who risked all by leaving home forever, crossing an ocean, and coming to a country they didn’t even begin to yet know.

My parents were from in East Germany. Neither knew English. Neither had been outside of Germany. Indeed, neither had travelled at all very far from their homes—my dad’s small farming town and my mom’s city life in nearby Dresden.

In 1960, the wall divided East and West Germany, but was still just a bit porous. It wasn’t yet the Iron Curtain of the forthcoming years, where leaving was all but impossible.

My parents saw what was coming, or sensed it at least, and decided escaping was worth the enormous gamble. The dream was to make it to America, and become Americans.

With a day-long work visa, my dad went to West Germany. From there, you could pretty much do what you want – West Germany was a democracy with complete freedom of travel.

A Cabinet Maker’s Journey

My dad had the following possessions for a trip halfway around the world: a small suitcase of clothes and personal items; a rolled-up master’s degree in cabinet making; and $500 (in the form of five $100-dollar bills) squirreled away. That was all.

My dad arrived at Ellis Island with the good word from family acquaintances (from Czechoslovakia), who had emigrated to Chicago, that there was plenty of available work in the Windy City.

So, he took a Greyhound Bus from New York to Chicago. When he arrived at Chicago, no doubt feeling somewhat disoriented and overwhelmed, he almost had his suitcase (his one possession!) stolen by the bus driver.

(The bus driver had given him a claim check ticket, but now claimed the claim check ticket didn’t match, and that my dad couldn’t have his suitcase until this could all be figured out by the home office. My dad didn’t know about any home office, but he did know he couldn’t possibly even let the suitcase out his sight. The driver tried some more flim flam…my dad insisted on his suitcase…there was a standoff, and eventually the driver realized he’s needed to find a more gullible tourist, and relented.)

He lived in downtown Chicago with his family friends, worked two jobs, and wrote my mom often. It was understood by all that the mail was being opened and read, both by the East Germans and the Americans.

Eventually, my dad decided he was settled enough to have my mom come over. My mom followed the same path—day-long work pass to West Germany, boat trip to New York, bus to Chicago.

American Dream

american flag and hat

They worked four jobs between them, trying to save money. The dream, of course, was to save enough money to live in their very own apartment, buy a house, and ultimately raise a family.

They learned English by watching TV and trying to read the newspaper during the small windows of time when they weren’t working. But the folks they were in daily contact with, both at work and at home, were Czech.

Consequently, they ended up learning some pretty good Czech first! When they realized Czech as a second language was helpful, but not nearly as helpful as learning English was, they began speaking only in English. They would force themselves in all social situations to use English. They even opted for more TV, and forced themselves to go out into the city, to put themselves in situations where they would have to use English.

Of course, with this background, July 4th always held special meaning for my family. It was a holiday we always celebrated with a huge picnic, along with my parent’s other immigrant friends. And eventually the talk always circled back to giving thanks for being American, living in America, breathing free air. Every Independence Day I give a silent thanks to my parents for giving me the chance to be where I am today. All the work I do, to maximize charitable giving in Iowa, is a celebration of the opportunities we have to make our own lives and the lives of others better.

pie with sparklers

So, this Fourth of July take a moment to think about what being an American means to you. How does philanthropy and giving charitably fit into your vision for a better-together nation? I’d love to hear your thoughts as well as your family’s immigration story. Share in the comments below or reach out to me at any time!