Donor Education – Why Effective Donor Education Programs Are Important

Give sign image, estate planning

Image by Jello Fishy

One of the most effective ways to educate donors and help them achieve financial literacy is through sustained and focused donor education programs. The process of understanding the power of philanthropy and how it works best for a donor’s goals and objectives takes time. When donors learn together, share their ideas and understand what other donors have done and are doing, they become more comfortable with the process.

Donor education programs which focus on philanthropy and related topics, such as financial issues for women, can teach both men and women how to achieve the joy of giving while living. Your institution can incorporate into the donor education event faculty and student presentations which integrate messages into the mission of your institution. These programs can help differentiate/distinguish your institution and create deeper relationships with donors, alumnae, and alumni spouse (Women’s Philanthropy Institute 2009, 15). (8)

Effective donor education, combined with financial literacy, can also provide networking opportunities. Associating with women of similar financial standing increases their willingness to use their money to leave a legacy. This is especially relevant for women who are learning to be comfortable with their wealth. Many baby boomer women in this country will inherit twice—once from their parents and once from their spouse. Nevertheless, donors will not give until they know that they can take care of themselves first. As an estate planning attorney, the most common question I hear from a new widow is, “Do I have enough money to live on?” (Of course that question should be asked many years before that moment in time.) Taking the time to systematically educate your women donors, to help them achieve financial literacy, to teach them that by gifting they can reap both current and future rewards will help empower them to act when they receive their “double inheritance.”

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime. To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

Estate Planning Conundrum: What to do when a beneficiary has a substance abuse problem

Will ImageIn my 28 years of working with families on their estate plans, many parents have raised the issue of what to do when a child or grandchild struggles with substance abuse. With the recent death of Whitney Houston and her connection to substance abuse, it reminds me of what this means during the estate planning process. These parents are heartbroken and need guidance on how to address this difficult situation in their estate planning documents. Substance abuse – whether it’s alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal narcotics – affects many of the families we advise. As a result, we developed a list of questions for families to consider when designing their estate plan:

  1. Has the beneficiary ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?
  2. Is the beneficiary having a particularly hard time – is divorce on the horizon? Has he lost his business? Does he gamble?
  3. What is his relationship with other family members?
  4. Who does he trust?
  5. Who is giving him money?
  6. Is he eligible for government assistance?
  7. Who is paying his health insurance?
  8. Is he employed? For how long? What types of jobs?
  9. Has he ever been treated for his addiction?
  10. Is he a member of Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar organization?
  11. Do these issues run in the family?
  12. Has there been a family intervention?
  13. Is he open to counseling? Has this topic been addressed?
  14. Where is he living? Can he live alone?

I have noticed that substance abuse often masks other underlying mental health issues, including undiagnosed or untreated schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. That these issues are often part of a larger family pattern makes having the discussion much more difficult, but much more essential.

Families in Conflict

An addicted child may have already taken a significant emotional, physical, and financial toll on the entire family. Parents who find it difficult to handle this child become increasingly disturbed when they consider who would step in if they are unable or unavailable. This helplessness often leads to anger, frustration, and conflict.

One parent may want to cut off the beneficiary while the other parent cannot consider doing so. One parent may want to kick the child out of the home, while the other parent believes that doing so would make matters worse. These conflicts add stress to their marriage and the family at large.

Grandparents may have different opinions than the parents. Siblings may already be resentful of their addicted sister or brother. In many families, the troubled child has already received significant emotional and financial assistance. His troubles have already taken center stage at the dinner table. His presence in the home and attitude toward the family may have already created constant disruption.

Estate Planning Tools and Options

As complex and emotional as these issues are, families must address them. And they will welcome having an impartial, yet compassionate advisor to provide guidance, suggestions, and choices.

One planning tool for parents to immediately consider is for that child to designate them as the agent under his health care proxy and his attorney in fact under the durable power of attorney. Without these documents, HIPPA will prohibit the parents from being involved with his treatment. Also, these documents give parents legal access to his health and financial records, which could be extremely important if it becomes necessary to apply for government benefits.

Inevitably, an estate planning discussion will include disinheritance. In my experience, this is a subject frequently discussed and rarely implemented. No matter how angry and frustrated they are, parents still want to provide some sort of safety net for their child.

This pressure to disinherit the troubled child may come from the sense that he has already taken more than his fair share of the family’s resources, possibly at the expense of the other, more responsible children. As the family’s advisor, however, you should ask the parents:

  • If you are not here, how will the child be cared for with no existing financial resources?
  • Who will be responsible?
  • Who will he call?
  • Will disinheriting him place a financial burden on your other children, or will they be able to walk away?

Establishing a Trust

Rather than disinheriting him, a common solution is to establish a trust that includes him as a permissible beneficiary – or is only for his benefit during his lifetime. The hard decision, however, is who will serve as trustee after both parents die. Parents are understandably reluctant to place that burden on their other children or on other relatives.

If there are significant assets, then choosing a corporate trustee is the simple choice. The other children or trusted friends or advisors can then have the right to remove or replace that trustee during the trust duration. If there are not sufficient assets to warrant a corporate trustee, then the parents must identify friends or trusted advisors – who should be paid for their services. The trustee should review the trust document to ensure that he has the right to resign from his office, and understand the mechanism for subsequent trustee appointments. The document should provide the trustee with the authority to expend funds for purposes such as counseling, detectives, drug testing, and private security.

Trust Terms and Provisions

After deciding on the line of succession and identifying who will operate the trust, parents need to focus on the various purposes for which the trustee may or may not distribute income and/or principal from the trust to the beneficiary.

If the beneficiary is likely to require government assistance, then the terms of the trust must contemplate that. The trust document may also give the trustee authority to withhold payments if deemed advisable. This is often preferable to asking that trustee to determine whether a beneficiary is drug-free. Those suffering from substance abuse can be clever, and making such a determination is tricky.

Rather than withholding payments, another approach is to provide the beneficiary with incentives for staying clean. The trustee could provide additional distributions if the child holds a full-time job or regularly attends counseling sessions. Making the distribution provisions restrictive and under the trustee’s sole control can help protect those assets from the troubled child’s creditors, or from any of the many “friends” and acquaintances who might take advantage of him if they believe there is money in his pocket.

Many parents have a sense of shame or denial, and may rightly choose not to make these troubles public, or put them in a trust document that others can access. I encourage parents to write an annual side letter to the trustee that describes their observations and offers details that they are reluctant to share while living. This letter could be placed in a sealed envelope, kept with the original estate planning documents, and updated/revised as circumstances change. It can be comforting to the trustee to understand more about the parents’ goals and objectives from their own voice.

Planning for the beneficiary with a substance abuse issue is complex and can have consequences that affect the entire family. Remind parents that life is a movie, not a snapshot. A plan created now should be good enough to handle today’s circumstances, yet flexible enough to contemplate the unknown. Encourage parents who are dealing with this difficult situation to revisit their plan every few years as circumstances change and evolve.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime. To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

Effective Risk Planning

Image of a womanOn the topic of risk I just came across the Family Office Exchange white paper, “Securing the Future: Managing Threats and Opportunities Through Effective Risk Planning” (October 2009) and was impressed with how thorough this study is.

I recommend it to anyone who is advising high net worth families and/or family owned businesses. Its intent is to develop a process for managing risk to diffuse reactive, irrational decision making and puts forth the best strategies for managing downside risks while emphasizing the importance of capitalizing on new opportunities for wealth enhancement.

It is a wonderful roadmap for a proactive approach for risk management across the critical issues that families face. To quote Arie de Geus, the former head of strategic planning for Royal/Dutch/Shell, “nobody can predict the future, therefore one should not try. The only relevant discussions about the future are those where we succeed in shifting the question from “whether something will happen” to the question “ What will we do if it does happen?”

For more information about the Family Office Exchange white paper visit:

My three key areas “at risk” for family business are family cohesiveness, business ownership and wealth management. Here’s a look at what they mean:


Family Cohesiveness

In the area of family cohesiveness, reputation or the family brand is at risk. Traditionally this risk was triggered by a scandal that leaked out to the press. The new way this risk is triggered is through the Internet. Videos on YouTube and comments on Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks can affect your client’s family’s reputation. They can be used in divorce litigations, custody matters and employment decisions. Once viral, it is hard to remove.

The younger generation, if not educated, is not mature enough to understand the afterlife omnipresent power of the digital era. A family risk-management policy should include education about the dangers of social media and a morally binding decision among family members to understand the consequence of social media on the reputation of the entire family.

Business Ownership

Another risk to family cohesiveness is the impact to individual goals and life plans.

Traditional risks included the illness, death or incapacity of a key family figure.

In the family business, the new risk is the increased work lifespan of the older generation, which results in the delayed succession of the middle generation. With the older generation in good health and working longer, the individual goals plans of the middle generation may be passed over.

Intentional strategic planning and clear communication among all generations as to what the expectations are for the working lifespan and when the baton should/will pass can mitigate this new risk.

Traditional risks to business ownership and the economic sustainability of the family enterprise include the death or the divorce of a shareholder when proper planning is not put in place.

The new risk is the evolution of laws governing how assets are allocated in a divorce. In some states, gifted and inherited assets are divisible in a divorce. This does not just include what the about-to-be divorcing family member owns when married; it also includes the expectancy of what that divorcing family member will receive in the future.

Those expectancies are taken into account when determining the allocation of assets between the couple about to be divorced.

A significant side effect to this is how a hostile soon-to-be ex and their attorney will value the family business assets and put that valuation into the public realm of divorce court. The goal of that hostile divorcing member is to value that business high. That valuation may do serious damage to the estate plan of the older generation.

There is also an increased risk for the allocation of alimony. Many family businesses have phantom income that is earned during the course of the marriage that shows up on the tax return and is plowed back into the family business. At issue is how that phantom income should be treated for alimony purposes.

If it was earned during the marriage, is it marital income taken into account for alimony and child support purposes even though not actually received?

When thinking about these risks, it is important to remember that the law and the court in the jurisdiction of the divorcing spouse that will control these decisions. These risks can be mitigated by a well negotiated pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement.

Wealth Management

Traditional risks related to a family’s wealth (including financial, intellectual and social assets) include the illness or death of the key family stakeholder, economic downturn and changes in the regulatory or legal environment.

The dissipation of wealth sometimes triggers new risks. With each ensuing generation, wealth is splintered. Besides that, new risks also come from the lack of creation of new wealth during turbulent economic times, the increased complexity of legal and tax matters and the increased complexity of wealth management choices.

These risks can be mitigated when the family coordinates its advisers and monitors the integration of all professional services.

The risks are further mitigated when the family embraces and encourages financial education and financial literacy across the generations. Mentoring, shadowing, exposure to the concepts and resources along the generation continuums reduces unintended consequences.

Risk taking is an essential part of getting ahead. Be sure and invest in yourself and understand and evaluate your risks before you take them.

Patricia Annino
is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime. To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

Financial stress is hurting worker productivity

By Beth Healy

Half said they were not certain they could come up with $1,000 in an emergency.

The recession ended nearly six years ago. The stock market has doubled in value since then. But Americans are still money roll image, financial stress, financial informationso stressed out about money and finances it’s even affecting their productivity at work.

A study by State Street Global Advisors in Boston found that large numbers of workers are experiencing emotional or physical stress that’s related to dealing with their personal finances. About 61 percent of 1,000 workers surveyed across all ages and incomes said they were moderately to severely stressed about their finances.

Half said they were not certain they could come up with $1,000 in an emergency.

“The data’s really powerful around how distracted employees are,’’ said Megan Yost, a vice president at State Street Global who works on retirement plans. “They’re not just at work and distracted; people are actually taking days off and missing work to deal with financial stress.”

Stagnant wages and competing demands on workers’ wallets — from mortgages and day care to student loans and saving for retirement — are often to blame. If the employee gym was the 1990s answer to employers fretting over rising health care costs, “financial wellness” is today’s buzzword in human resources offices.

Graph image, financial stress, financial informationIn December, State Street Global held a brainstorming session with executives from a dozen Fortune 500 companies, plus some academics, to talk about the issue. At a daylong session in Manhattan, they represented a variety of industries and employees, from the highly compensated to those in manufacturing jobs or driving trucks.

Barbara Kontje of American Express Co. was among those attending the session. She’s director of Retirement Americas & Smart Saving for 21,000 employees at the New York-based financial services company. Even in her industry, she said, concerns about finances abound.

‘There are just very few people who aren’t thinking about money.’


“Money is always top of mind’’ when she talks to employees, Kontje said. “They want to do better with their money. They know they should be saving for retirement. They know they should have an emergency fund. They just don’t know where to start.”

Even the federal government is on to the problem. In a report in August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said many Americans lie awake at night wondering how to make ends meet. The agency cited an Aon Hewitt study that found 81 percent of workers felt financial worries hurt their work productivity.

In 2012, the government said, one in five workers admitted to skipping work to deal with a financial issue.

Financial stress is worst at lower income levels, according to State Street, but it doesn’t stop there. Among those earning less than $75,000 a year, two of every three people reported being stressed. For those earning more than $75,000, it was a bit more than half.

Beyond income, stress levels are largely determined by how much money people have available in cash or investments. Those with less than $50,000 in savings and investments suffer the most, according to the State Street study, with more three-quarters saying they experience money stress.

The situation doesn’t improve dramatically until workers accumulate more than $150,000 in investable assets, State Street found. Still, 42 percent of people in that group reported feeling stressed.

At higher levels of pay, the problem becomes more about spending habits than earning power, State Street’s Yost said. But nearly half of the people between the ages of 29 and 69 who took part in the survey said they were living paycheck to paycheck.

Rosario Cabrera, a personal care assistant from New Bedford, knows that all too well. She is 31 years old with two kids, working seven days a week caring for people who are sick and homebound, earning $13.38 an hour.

“I struggle every day,’’ Cabrera said. Having just paid the rent and her bills, she said, she’s got $89 left in her bank account. “That’s going to have to hold me until next week,’’ she said.

Even with the improved economy, workers’ financial worries are painfully common.

Another recent survey, commissioned by the Boston communications firm Brodeur Partners, found that people think about money more than about sex. While most workers think about their families and their spouses most, they worry about money 69 percent of the time — more than about religion, work, or their sex and love lives.

“There are just very few people who aren’t thinking about money,’’ said Andrea Coville, chief executive of Brodeur. “That’s a lens you have to understand when you’re talking to people.”

That’s an issue for employers trying to encourage workers to save for retirement, executives said. It’s why State Street Global, a giant investment manager that caters to corporate retirement plans, pension funds, and other large institutional investors, is spending time and money in the weeds of workers’ financial angst.

This era’s corporate gym comes in the form of company-sponsored sessions on mortgages and investing, one-on-ones with financial advisers, and webinars. Kontje said Amex has cut some of its online financial education programs to 30 minutes or even 15 minutes, to make them more convenient for workers to watch off-hours.

The most money-stressed age group is 30 to 39, according to the State Street study, the age range when many people marry, have babies, and save for other major expenses.

“It’s clearly a demographic that needs the help and wants the help,” Yost said.

Source: The Boston Globe Beth Healy


Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

A Generous (and Unwanted) Gift

people in bed image, estate planning tipsBy MICHAEL BAHLER

My father has always been generous with his money. I didn’t have to pay for college or law school or even for the confused year I spent at Princeton taking graduate courses in sociology.

When my mother was sick, I moved back from Washington to be near her and help with her care. While there, I tried to start a legal-research business, for which my father paid the start-up costs and then the winding-down expenses. Most of the money in my children’s college funds is from him.

He would cover random needs, too, like sending me home after a visit with new boxer shorts, dress socks and Allen Edmonds loafers (size 11½, even though I am a 12). He had bought these things for himself but wanted me to have them and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“He’s like his mother,” my mother said, smiling. “Except instead of trying to get you to eat food, he gives you underwear.”

As a successful cardiologist, my father can afford to be generous. He never invested in stocks, but he earned a lot and lived a frugal life. Besides buying laptop computers and a Volvo station wagon every seven years, the man buys almost nothing. He doesn’t take vacations or go to Atlantic City.

My sister recently treated him to dinner at a nice restaurant. When I asked him how it was, he said: “Good. But Burger King is just as good.”

After my mother died, my father told me he was giving me his house.

This offer was different, and not just because a house is obviously a big gift.

My father had not slept in my parents’ bedroom since my mother died, choosing a couch in the family room where she spent her final weeks in a rented hospital bed.

In the months since her death, he had not cleaned out any of her things, not even the wig she wore to chemotherapy.

It seemed he was desperate to leave the house to escape the reminders of my mother, but he couldn’t bring himself to sell it because there was too much history.

My two sisters already had houses they were happy with. The only way he was going to get to leave was if I agreed to take it. But my father couldn’t tell me why he really wanted to leave the house, so he made it seem as if he were doing it all for me.

“Your two boys need a house,” he said. “They need a backyard. Your wife wants a house.”

My wife, Jen, had been wanting to move out of our apartment and into a house, and she appraised my parents’ home objectively. It was in a good neighborhood on a quiet street. The backyard was big and level, so our boys could run loose and she wouldn’t have to trek to a playground.

The house was small; my parents had bought it right after my father finished his residency, when they had little money. With few windows and stained wood paneling, it was also dark and out of date. But Jen said if we didn’t have a mortgage we could take our savings and remodel.

To me, it was the house I grew up in and the place where my cancer-riddled mother had just died. And while I may be wearing my father’s boxers, I wasn’t going to move back into his house. I kept telling him no.

“You’re making a mistake,” he would say in a singsong voice.

“So be it,” I would singsong back.

In earlier times it was common for people to stay in the house in which they were raised. But these days leaving home permanently is the goal, and to move back feels like the ultimate failure.

Plus, I had been a high-school misfit with few friends and I still avoided restaurants and other public places in my hometown for fear of bumping into former classmates. I couldn’t see moving to a place where I would have to go into hiding.

And if I took the house I knew I would never be able to sell it because I couldn’t even bring myself to throw out scrap paper with my mother’s handwriting on it.

In February, I called my father to tell him my youngest son had said his first word.

“You’re missing out on a great house,” he said.

“Don’t you want to know the word?”

“It’s got dual-zone heating and air-conditioning. Andersen windows. Solid oak doors and cabinets.” My father had installed the doors and cabinets himself.

When I was a child, my parents were always looking for a better house, and on weekends they’d drag us along to see all these pricey homes. I would fight with my sisters in the back seat and then complain I was bored as we toured each house. If I had known I was looking for a home for my future wife and children, I would have paid much more attention.

“The dishwasher’s still great after 40 years,” my father said.

“No,” I told him.

In May, I called to wish him a happy birthday.

“You know, your son would do much better in this house,” he said.

My eldest was having serious kidney issues at the time.

“It’s all the dust in your apartment,” my father said. “The air is horrible there. You need to bring him to this house. It’s like the country here. You’re harming your son by staying at that apartment.”

My father was a doctor, so I couldn’t totally dismiss his opinion. To be safe, I mentioned his dust theory to my son’s New York nephrologist, who shook her head and looked at me as if I were bonkers.

In July, I asked my father when we were having Mom’s unveiling.

“She’s still in the house, Michael. I can feel her here. She’ll look after you. She’ll look after your family.”

“You think I want to move to a house where Mom died?” I said. “You think that doesn’t affect me also?”

“You could always knock down the house and build something you like,” he said.

“So Mom’s still in the house, but you want me to knock it down?”

“Think about it financially.”

I didn’t want to think about it financially.

“You wouldn’t have to take out a mortgage.”

I put thoughts about not having a mortgage out of my head.

“Why don’t you move to the house,” he said, “and if you don’t like it after a year, sell it and find someplace you like?”

“You’d really let me sell it?”

“It would be your house. That would be up to you.”

I felt as if I was being conned, but it would be a great financial move. Plus, who was to say my father wouldn’t remarry and leave everything to his new wife? The house might be my only chance at an inheritance.

“No, Dad, I can’t do it.”


“Don’t you want more for me than to live in that house? Why would you want me to live there?” I was on the verge of tears.

“It’s a great house.”

Over the next year, he kept pushing. I’d be seduced by the positives and then unnerved by the negatives.

Finally he told me he had already given me the house and showed me a property tax bill with both our names on it. Without telling me, he had gone to a lawyer and made us joint owners.

“That doesn’t mean I have to take it,” I told him.

He kept on me until my views began to shift. Maybe he had just worn me down, but the numbers suddenly seemed better, and I stopped thinking about the negatives. Jen and I decided to take the house and we moved in.

In our apartment, I slept on the right side of the bed and Jen slept on the left. But it felt weird to be in my parents’ bedroom sleeping on what was my father’s side of the bed, even though it wasn’t his bed; he had taken that to his new house three blocks away.

I begged Jen to let me switch sides and she agreed. I thought it would be better until I realized I was sleeping on my mother’s side, and that felt equally weird.

“Can we switch back?” I asked.

She moaned and I crossed over her.

I stayed there for a while and then inched toward the middle, where I had sometimes slept as a child when my parents let me come in after I had a nightmare.

I woke the next morning splayed across the bed, feeling anxious and unsettled. But then the sunlight beamed at me through the blinds, and I heard my two boys frolicking in the hallway, happily oblivious to history.

Time to put on a pair of my father’s boxers and start my new life.

Michael Bahler, a writer, lives in New Jersey.

Source: The New York Times

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

A college with a $94 million endowment is shutting its doors, and people in higher ed should be scared

by Peter Jacobs for the Business Insider

sweet briar college, estate planningA women’s liberal arts college in Virginia announced Tuesday that its Spring 2015 semester would be its last.

Sweet Briar College — located near Lynchberg, Virginia — will close “as a result of insurmountable financial challenges,” the school said in a statement.

Sweet Briar administrators cited several trends that informed the decision to close, including the declining number of female students interested in all-women colleges and the dwindling number of students overall interested in small, rural liberal arts colleges.

Last year, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that small, private US colleges were in a “death spiral” in light of dropping enrollment rates. This decline comes amid competition from cheaper online colleges and community colleges, which are enticing to students in a job market that’s weaker than it once was.

Several colleges similar to Sweet Briar have recently made changes to survive financially, according to Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed. But each choice has come with its own trade-offs. Jaschik highlights two other women’s colleges in Virginia:

Mary Baldwin College has embarked on a plan to preserve its identity as a residential undergraduate liberal arts college by creating new colleges of education and health professions. College leaders say this approach will make the women’s residential college financially sustainable, but many professors fear that the institution’s liberal arts ideals are being compromised.

Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, meanwhile, renamed itself Randolph College and in 2007 started enrolling men. As has been the case at many women’s colleges making that decision, some alumnae objected.

Randolph College’s endowment is over $125 million.

The Sweet Briar statement in part reads:

In March 2014, the College began a strategic planning initiative to examine opportunities for Sweet Briar to attract and retain a larger number of qualified students and determine if any fundraising possibilities might exist to support these opportunities. Unfortunately, the planning initiative did not yield any viable paths forward because of financial constraints.

Speaking with IHE, Sweet Briar College President James F. Jones Jr. lamented the closing of the college as a part of a broader change in “the diversity of American higher education.”

“The landscape is changing and becoming more vanilla,” Jones said.

As Jaschik notes, Sweet Briar’s closing is not unique, especially given the financial burdens many schools have faced since 2008. But, Jaschik writes, “the move is unusual in that Sweet Briar still has a $94 million endowment, regional accreditation and some well-respected programs.”

Mary Baldwin College recently created new colleges of education and health professions.

Shutting the school now — as opposed to when Sweet Briar runs out of funds — will allow the college to offer help to its students and faculty as they transition out after the semester.

“We have moral and legal obligations to our students and faculties and to our staff and to our alumnae. If you take up this decision too late, you won’t be able to meet those obligations,” Sweet Briar College board of directors chairman Paul G. Rice told IHE.

Here’s how Sweet Briar plans to offer support, according to IHE:

While all employees will lose their jobs, the college hopes to offer severance and other support. Students (including those accepted for enrollment in the fall) will receive help transferring. This semester will be the last one at the college, but it will remain officially open through the summer so that students can earn credit elsewhere and transfer it back to Sweet Briar to leave either with degrees or more credit toward degrees.

Sweet Briar announced on its Facebook page that it has expedited transfer arrangements with four local colleges.

Source: Read more:

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

The Congruency Audit Explained!

values plate image, family leader,Protecting your family’s legacy is much more challenging than it once was. The family leader must learn how to perform a congruency audit for your family. This may reveal technical issues, communication issues, fiduciary issues, tax issues, liquidity issues or a lack of coordination of the pieces of the puzzle.

It starts with an understanding of the fundamental values of the family – the true north. From that all else flows and the legacy builds. If the family does not have a clear idea of its values –what is in its DNA – then that is the first place that the family leader must start.

All else builds from that. Once the foundation is set, the goals and objectives must be charted. Once the goals and objectives are charted, then the enabling structures are crafted with the assistance of the team of advisors.

This is not the traditional way of thinking about legacy. Traditionally, the family leader goes to advisors one at a time to solve specific issues and does not touch base with the fundamental values. A family may go to the estate planning lawyer for wills and trusts, for example, and mainly focus on taxation… or go to an investment advisor and focus on conservative investments with minimal risk, failing to focus on the fact that part of the family’s net worth is in generational trusts, not for immediate use, and should be invested for growth.

A core issue that surfaces in almost every congruency audit is the lack of enough education about what the plan is, what it means and what its consequences are. In fact, all planning should be congruent.

  • Are you and your family prepared for what lies ahead?
  • Do you know what the core values of your family are?
  • Do new members marrying into the family know what the core values are?
  • Do they accept those core values?
  • Have these values been articulated?
  • Do all other family members also know what your core values are?
  • If there are issues that are affecting your core values, are you prepared to deal with them?
  • Have you set your goals?
  • Do you have up–to-date legal documents that enable your goals?
  • Do you have the right financial structure to facilitate those goals?
  • Do you have your team of advisors?
  • Is your plan congruent so that it relates back to your true north?
  • Have you established a system so that as life changes, your legacy is sustainable?
  • Let’s broaden some of those questions:

If you have minor children, do the persons named as guardians have your values? Do they understand what you would like your children to learn in life (not just for the time frame they are living with the guardians, but as part of the bigger legacy)?

Have you provided the guardians with sufficient financial means to achieve the goals? Have you thought about the financial condition of the guardians? Will your children have more wealth than they have? If you intend that your children attend private school, should your estate also pay for their children to attend private school? Who is paying for family vacations? Is it your intent the now blended family continue on as one unit? How should any difference in wealth be addressed? Have you established the proper legal documents so that the guardians can effectively carry out their role?

If you own a business with partners or shareholders, what do your values say that about the business? Is it an investment; is it part of the family DNA to be put in the hands of the next generation? Is it up to the next generation to make the best decisions? How have you coordinated that with your goals and objectives? Are your estate taxes covered? Do you have key man insurance? Buyout insurance? Are your legal documents (trusts, shareholder agreements) current and up to date? Do you have a coordinated team of advisors? Has this plan been recently reviewed? Is your plan congruent with your values?

If your son or daughter is about to marry, what is the family feeling about your future in-law? Is it assumed that person is part of the family? Is there a dividing line between being part of the family and having access to the business or the money? Is there a dividing line between being part of the family business and money? Is the rule that an in-law benefits from the family as long as he/she is in it? Is it that the in-law will always be the mother/father of my grandchildren and therefore is part of the family? What are your goals and objectives as your family expands? Do you require prenuptial agreements to protect your family assets? Do you include in-laws as part of the estate planning process? Are your financial and legal documents up to date and congruent with the goals and objectives? Did you discuss this with your team of advisors, or did you sign standard documents?

If you are older and concerned about your ability to care for yourself and your finances, have you selected (individuals or institutions) to do so? Do they understand your values? Do they have the ability to carry out your goals and objectives (to stay at home, or live in nursing home) and pay for care?

Have you arranged for the financial ability to implement that lifestyle and establish the proper legal documents, so that the persons in charge of your physical, custodial and medical care and the persons or institutions in charge of paying for the care are on the same page, and there is no conflict between those in charge of the purse strings and those in charge of the physical care? To what extent should family members be involved? As care givers? As overseers? Have you expressed your intent on these matters to those who will be making the decisions? Are you certain they are willing to take on these responsibilities?

None of these planning decisions should be made in a vacuum. When congruency does not occur, the foundation of the entire system can be disrupted. You will always need a team of expert advisors to assist you, but you must be the Captain, always aware of the true north of the compass to keep the plan on course.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

Getting to Win/Win: Strategies to Strengthen the Accountant/Attorney Team

Casey Stengel once said, “Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” In my financial information, advisory team, effective advisory team30 years of practice, I have found that to be true for the client/advisor team too, since the advisors are, understandably, focused on their own jobs, their own responsibilities, and they all have their own relationships and methods of communication with the client.

However, the client and the client’s team of advisors are best served if the advisors work well together. The client would receive consistent, more integrated advice and communication, and the advisors could potentially generate more work from that client and from their deepened relationships with each other.

Based on my experience working with accountants in many client situations, the most successful accountant/attorney client teams have these five essential characteristics:

1. Trust and respect. Each advisor has unique skills and expertise and should be respected for his/her contribution to the common effort. When problems do occur, the client’s best interests are best served if concerns or mistakes can be raised and addressed openly and honestly without posturing and finger-pointing. Most families start with one key advisor who has “grown up” with them. That advisor has been there through difficult financial times, during family crises, and may even have been the first person that a troubled family member turned to for help. The value of the legacy advisor is that he is trusted by all and has a proven history of acting in the family’s best interest, not his own. One can’t put a price tag on that level of trust and loyalty.
That does not mean, however, that the trusted advisor can or should continue to play all of his historical roles. When it becomes necessary to bring in specialized professionals, transitioning to other advisors does not have to be awkward. When the trusted advisor is assured of his continued importance, role, and compensation, the pathway to transition can be easy.
2. Open communication and conversation. Advisors must feel comfortable enough with each other (and have the client’s permission) to openly communicate ideas and strategies. They also need to be able to speak freely and to share their insight with the team. For example, the accountant may know that the son of the family business owner client is having financial difficulties, and that the client is concerned about a possible divorce – important information for the estate planner and/or corporate lawyer. Over the years I have seen many problems occur when families block that contact – either because they don’t want to pay to have the advisors speak to each other or because they don’t want the team to have full comprehension of what is going on. Sometimes the problems are significant; sometimes they remain dormant because the issues are not brought forward; and sometimes the problems are just missed opportunities. And missed opportunities can cost as much as mistakes.
3. Keen understanding of their respective roles. The key to a successful collaboration is to leave your respective egos at the door. Each advisor brings something different to the table, so it’s important to understand what role each team member plays. If someone on the team is a “weak link,” that will eventually become clear. If that person happens to be the longtime trusted family advisor, do not move to replace him or her. A strong and effective team will shore up any weaknesses and find a way to get results. Over time, that advisor’s role may diminish (but not evaporate), and other advisors can be brought in. Building and maintaining an effective advisory team is an ongoing process, not a static snapshot.

4. Billing the client. Communicating as a team and acting together in the client’s best interest certainly sounds like a good idea – in theory. But in reality, how will the client feel about all that communication once the bill arrives? That is why the team and the client must first agree on a billing process. When the team of advisors has a comfortable working relationship, they will learn that some conversations will occur whether or not a bill is paid. Another option I have seen is to create a standard monthly or quarterly billing arrangement that is not based on time, but instead takes into account any and all cross communication.
5. Importance of reciprocity in client referrals. Advisors who are fee-based are paid for the time they put into an engagement. Part of creating an effective advisory team is understanding that the more the team works together, the more they learn from each other, the stronger their relationships become, and the better their clients are served. When advisors work together on several key client relationships there is also more tolerance for unbilled communications, as they know that they are making a profit on the totality of their experiences and the collective results – and that those engagements will ultimately lead to additional business.
Trust, respect, open communications, and reciprocity are the hallmarks of good teamwork, and client advisor teams that include these characteristics will likely find success. As James Cash Penney once said, “The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.”

Ken Griffin says prenup is ‘valid, binding, enforceable’

Anne and Ken Griffin Photo, premarital agreementCitadel LLC CEO Ken Griffin and his wife, Anne Dias Griffin, who have been separated more than a year, signed a prenuptial agreement a day before their 2003 wedding that Mr. Griffin’s attorneys say is “valid, binding and enforceable” as their client proceeds with divorce.

The Chicago businessman also seeks joint custody of the couple’s three children.

The prenup “governs all issues resulting from the parties’ marriage, including, but not limited to, maintenance and the division of marital and non-marital property,” the four-page filing states. “Prior to the premarital agreement being executed, both parties were represented by counsel, entered into the premarital agreement freely and voluntarily, and each party made a full disclosure of their assets and liabilities. The premarital agreement is valid, binding and enforceable upon the parties in every respect.”

Spokeswomen for Ms. Griffin and Mr. Griffin declined to comment.

The billionaire businessman filed for divorce yesterday in Cook County Circuit Court. The filing stated that “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage. Any attempt at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.”

The Griffins — he’s 45 and she’s 43 — own two condominiums in the Park Tower on Michigan Avenue.

Ms. Griffin lives in the penthouse on the 67th floor, and Mr. Griffin recently purchased the 66th-floor condo.

The couple have three children ages 6, 3 and 2, the court documents say.

“As such, Kenneth believes that it is in the minor children’s best interests that the parties be awarded their joint custody,” state the papers filed by the Chicago law firm Berger Schatz. “Anne has acknowledged Kenneth’s compliance with the premarital agreement and has accepted the benefits of Kenneth’s compliance with the premarital agreement.”

Though Ms. Griffin has been primary caregiver of their children, she also is a businesswoman. She is the founding partner of Aragon Global Management LLC, which she founded in 2001 with seed capital from legendary investor Julian Robertson.

The couple signed a premarital agreement July 18, 2003, a day before their wedding, according to Mr. Griffin’s filings. He filed for divorce four days after their 11th anniversary.

Source: by Shia Kapos. Follow Shia on Twitter at @ShiaKapos.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,

Teaching Your Children About Wealth

Families are using limited liability companies to transfer assets between generations.

By Liz Moyer

Do you need a family limited liability company, like Bill Gates? Reuters family investment, Image of Bill Gates

Wealthy families are increasingly turning to family limited liability companies to minimize taxes and transfer assets between generations.

The strategy helps provide hands-on investment education for the younger generation without forcing older family members to cede control and offers other benefits.

Advisers to high-net-worth families say the LLC arrangement is gaining popularity as older generations in North America prepare to transfer an estimated $30 trillion in assets to heirs in the coming decades, according to the consulting firm Accenture.

The growing interest among the wealthy in education and financial literacy since the financial crisis has made LLCs more popular, says Linda Beerman, head of wealth strategies at Atlantic Trust, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s CM -2.13% U.S. wealth-management arm, which has $24 billion under management and manages family LLCs for some of its clients.

Typically, an older-generation member—who acts as the managing partner—forms an LLC to create a family investment pool using assets such as commercial property, vacant land, a family business or an investment portfolio. The managing partner can make gifts of limited-partnership interests directly to other family members, such as children and grandchildren, or to their trusts. In some cases, family members can buy shares in the LLC.
The managing partner retains control of the assets, but the limited partners get to observe how investment decisions are made and, in some cases, help establish the investment mission.

The assets inside the LLC are protected from creditors, including divorcing spouses, which has made them popular with families that own their own businesses, lawyers said.

“It’s seen by the kids as graduating into the family,” Ms. Beerman says. “It gives them a sense of ownership.”

The booming markets of the past few years have made them popular for another reason, experts say. Because the limited shares in an LLC are minority interests, the value of the assets that are transferred into the LLC can be discounted from their fair-market value for tax purposes.

Such discounts typically range from 15% to 25%, and can go as high as 30%. For example, consider an asset with a $1 million fair-market value. Inside an LLC, that asset would be less valuable because multiple owners have minority stakes but no control. If it was valued at 25% below its fair-market value, its taxable value would be $750,000.

Rising markets have motivated families to lock in those lower valuations, says Richard Baum, a partner at accounting firm Anchin Block & Anchin in New York. That way, he says, “you can pass wealth to the next generation using the lowest possible value.”

One famous example of a family LLC is Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment LLC, which is based in Kirkland, Wash., and manages a portion of the Gates family money.

There are some drawbacks, estate lawyers and advisers say. To avoid scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service, a family LLC needs to serve a legitimate business purpose.

That can include managing commercial property or a family’s investment portfolio, but not other holdings, such as a vacation home that is used by the family. The LLC interest holders must meet regularly, maintain current state filings and keep detailed records of income, expenses, contributions and distributions.

Families can use an LLC to buy and hold stakes in exclusive investments such as timberland or private-equity funds. Conversely, a family with its own business can set up an LLC to diversify its investments. The LLC also could be set up to forbid family members from selling their stakes unless everyone agrees or require a certain percentage of shareholders to agree to investment decisions.

In some cases, families are setting up these companies to pool their assets so they can qualify for the most exclusive private-banking services at firms such as J.P. Morgan Chase, JPM -0.27% Goldman Sachs Group GS -0.58% and UBS, UBS -0.54% says Jonathan Forster, a lawyer at Greenberg Traurig in McLean, Va., who has set up family limited liability companies for clients with at least $30 million of assets.

“People are using these structures more because they are using more sophisticated investments,” Mr. Forster says. “They’re not just buying stocks and bonds. They’re buying commercial real estate or private company stakes.”
Source: The Wall Street Journal – Write to Liz Moyer at

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,