Successor Advisors — The Benefits and Who They Should Be

Are you taking advantage of one of the key features of a donor advised fund? A donor advised fund may be the beneficiary of your will or trust. It is normal to have your spouse, your children and favorite charities named as a beneficiary of your will or trust.

However, many people elect to have their donor advised fund be a beneficiary of their will or trust in place of their favorite charities. Why? The donor advised fund can have successor advisors.

A successor advisor carries out your charitable wishes after you pass away. The benefit of having a successor advisor is that:

  • Ongoing Administration. A successor advisor may continue to administer the fund on an ongoing annual basis which would allow your fund to continue in perpetuity or it may be administered over a term of years, i.,e, 10 years.
  • Adjust to Changes in Charities. By having a successor advisor, you may designate a particular charity, i.e., your local church, but also provide instructions to your successor advisor to redirect the gift if the charity is no longer fulfilling their original mission.
  • Immediate and Term Administration. You may wish for some gifts to go out immediately upon your death and for some gifts to be distributed over time. A successor advisor can carry out those wishes.
  • Family Legacy. A successor advisor may be children and grandchildren and provide an ongoing means for family giving and thus a family legacy.

Additionally, keep in mind that when you name a specific charity in your will or trust, you are locked into giving to that charity unless you amend your will or trust. Only 2% of the people will go back and amend their estate documents in large part because of the hassle and cost of doing so. A donor advised fund can be easily amended simply by providing new instructions to successor advisors. It’s easy.

Finally, who should your successor advisors be? Successor advisors may be the following:

  1. A surviving spouse
  2. Children
  3. Trusted friends, relatives, or financial advisors

In some cases, people elect to have the Servant Christian Community Foundation serve as the successor advisor. To the extent they choose this option, they do so by choosing the Legacy Fund option. Under any circumstances, we encourage that you provide instruction to your successor advisors—those instructions may be general (support of Christian ministries) or specific (support particular organizations or kinds of organizations).

If you don’t have a successor advisor, we encourage that you take steps today in naming that advisor. Contact Jonathan at (913) 538-7836 or info@servantchristian.com to update your fund’s succession plan.

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