Gift Planning Services Manager’s Minute
We reach out to you with hope that you and your families are safe and well. The current environment with COVID-19 already is feeling like a long strange trip (sorry, Jerry Garcia). We also wonder if the journey is just beginning as we adapt to a “new normal.”
In harmony with the direction of our leaders, the Gift Planning Services team has been working from home since March 17th. While we greatly miss the in-person interaction, all things considered, it has worked remarkably well for us. We have done our best to be available to you and our donors by phone or email. Please call us with questions and other needs as they arise.
We also greatly appreciate that we have been provided the opportunity to continue working. We recognize there are many who are not so fortunate. Our hearts go out to them. We are grateful to all those who continue to serve on the “front lines” during this difficult and unusual time.
How are you doing? Are you able to continue your work with your clients? Many advisors have reported to me that current conditions have given them time to catch up on a lengthy to-do list, while also expressing concern that they do not have new clients entering their business pipeline. We pray that your business will quickly recover and that you will be able to continue to render your wonderful service to many.
This is a time of unique opportunities. Charitable Lead Trusts may be a very appealing option for consideration for the right client in the right circumstances. Charitable Gift Annuities are a great vehicle worthy of consideration by those who are risk adverse. The CARES Act makes available other attractive opportunities for your clients. And, the charities we represent, are grateful for those generous donors who established Donor Advised Funds and are now using them to continue to fund their philanthropic wishes.
Interestingly, we have been very busy taking calls from individuals asking for information on how to include charity in their estate planning. Anecdotally, it seems that many of those who call us are more thoughtful about their mortality and wish to make their charitable inclinations clear. Current conditions seem to provide motivation to make sure that family and the important causes they support are addressed through sound estate planning.
As I conclude, please permit me this point of personal privilege. Earlier this year, during a Come, Follow Me gathering with my family, my daughter shared her thoughts on Nephi and his experience of breaking his bow of fine steel as reported in 1 Nephi Chapter 16. You will recall the story:
And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food. (1 Nephi 16:18)
My daughter’s thoughts evolved into a wonderful family conversation. If you will kindly indulge me, here are the Bonner family notes from that discussion:
We have all experienced broken fine steel bows in our lives. These bows have been opportunities, health and financial circumstances, relationships. Sometimes they have been broken through no fault of our own, and other times they have broken because of our carelessness, pride, or error. Despite the cause, the break has the same devastating consequences: loss of security, exceeding difficulty seeing the way forward, and feelings of sorrow, despair, and anger.
It is easy in these moments to do what Lamen and Lemuel did and get angry. Or, beg and plea for God to fix the bow or send a replacement, to make things better, and to bring us back to where we were before the bow broke. Then, when the damage and pain and disappointment and apprehension remain; to throw up our hands in frustration and fear, unable to see how we can possibly move forward without the bow.
However, despite being as hungry, scared, and grief-stricken as the rest of his family, Nephi accepts that the bow is broken. He does not sink into despair waiting for the bow to be miraculously restored or for someone else to take the blame.
Instead, he faithfully does his best to move forward.
The scriptures say that Nephi "did make out of wood a bow, and out of a straight stick, an arrow" (v. 23). Then, with this crude, seemingly inadequate replacement in hand, he heads into the wilderness. Guided by revelation, Nephi locates game and successfully obtains food for his family.
Nephi never gets back his fine steel bow.
But his wooden bow is made adequate to harvest game for the rest of the trip and allows his family to proceed forward into a new life in the Americas.
Much of the security we take for granted has seemingly evaporated.
Now the world (including the United States) is experiencing a “broken bow” moment. Isn’t it interesting to see how we (used to living with great wealth and safety) are now living first-hand a few of the economic, health, and security concerns that much of the world has always experienced?
Gift Planning Council friends, challenging days have arrived. Presently, we are limited in how we interact with our clients and each other. Our work is more difficult. Financial concerns will certainly hamper the ability of many of our clients and donors to utilize our services. Financial and health concerns will also likely impact us and those we love.
Like Nephi, we have lost our fine steel bow.
I am certain, however, as we call with faith upon Heaven for help, we can manufacture bows of wood (perhaps these bows are figuratively represented by WebEx, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams) and continue to provide critically needed educational, financial, and legal services.
Likewise, we and our families can craft bows of wood to address the pressing issues we face in our homes and with our loved ones in the days ahead.
I am confident that we will experience miracles as God enables us to use seemingly incapable replacement wooden bows to accomplish all which is needed to be done.
May God bless all of you and your families. I look forward with great enthusiasm to when we can meet in person once again.
If you have friends or colleagues that would benefit from receiving this newsletter or other Gift Planning Council correspondence, please contact David Smith at davidj_smith@ChurchofJesusChrist.org or 801-356-5251. We invite all to join our Gift Planning Council LinkedIn Group.
Our 2019 Gift Planning Council Conference site with many of the presentations from our two days together is accessible here.
In addition, we have two new podcasts available on our GPC page. The first is from Paul Comstock on “Leveraging Charitable Giving and Estate Planning with a CLT”, and the second is from our own Jacob Dowse on the CARES Act and its impact on planned giving. We invite you to watch these at your earliest convenience.
Finally, our friend and former Gift Planning Services Manager, Wes Mashburn, has accepted employment with Deseret Trust Company. He promises to share with us an update on his new responsibilities and formally say goodbye in a short piece he will prepare for our next newsletter. We wish Wes the very best in his new endeavor and look forward to working closely with him as he now engages his energy and world-class talent in support of Deseret Trust Company and those they serve.
Family History/FamilySearch Highlight
Learning about ancestors helps us better understand who we are. FamilySearch’s vision is carried out by dedicated employees and volunteers who work tirelessly to preserve and share the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world. FamilySearch strives to create and link the best and most valuable research resources to help people discover who they are by exploring where they came from. To learn more about how donors can further this great work, visit the Philanthropies FamilySearch page!
Robert L. Packard Spotlight
One of the wonderful members of our Gift Planning Council is Robert Packard. We are excited for you to get to know him a little better in this edition of the GPC Spotlight!
1. Background and Practice
I graduated from BYU in 1976 with Masters of Accountancy. My internship experience helped me decide that I wanted to work in public accounting and specialize in tax practice. After eleven years with a large Arizona local (five offices) firm, I started my own tax practice in 1987 in Mesa, AZ. Packard, Appleby & Rogers, P.C. now has four partners (including my son, TJ) and provides tax and accounting services for individuals, businesses, trusts and estate planning. I developed a specialization and passion for charitable tax planning after being involved in my first experience with a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRUT) in 1983.
2. Involvement with GPC
I became aware of LDS Foundation (now Philanthropies) while involved in charitable tax planning in the mid-eighties. I truly enjoyed working with Joe Gonzalez, Jim Olsen and other professionals at LDS Foundation that were such a wonderful resource for me. I remember telling Joe that the team at LDS Foundation was the best kept secret of the tax profession. We discussed many times the need for professional advisors to be more aware of the technical and relationship skills of the LDS Foundation team. I encouraged the suggestion of a conference for advisors to provide continuing education and greater correlation between LDS Foundation and professional advisors. (Read more)
Rather than a traditional technical article, in this edition of the newsletter, we asked Scott Farnsworth to share his keys to finding your core joys. We hope you enjoy his wisdom and spirit.
Find and Share Your Core Joys: Some Advice to My Grown Children
By Scott Farnsworth
This is an open letter to my six adult children. They are pictured above, dancing together at their cousin's wedding in New Orleans. It makes me happy that they enjoy being with each other.
I love being a father, and I love being your father. I love each of you individually and all of you collectively. My greatest desire for you is that you find happiness.
Mark Twain once wrote: “When I was 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”
I am hoping that you believe that I — like Mark Twain’s father — have learned a few things since you were 14 or 21, therefore, that I possess a few nuggets of wisdom that might aid each of you in your quest for a joyful and productive life.
There was a time in your life when your mother and I felt we had both the capability and the responsibility to mold you into the kind of adults you would eventually become. That stage has passed. J. K. Rowling expressed that idea somewhat differently: “There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you." Now, as adults, you are who you are and it is up to you if you wish to change yourselves.
Over the years I have made certain “stupidly simple and duh-obvious” observations about happiness and people. I want to mention three of them here. I believe that understanding and applying these three principles will greatly increase your overall happiness. (Read more)
COVID-19 and Philanthropies
Due to the current COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation, Philanthropies has temporarily restricted access to our offices for the public through at least April 3, 2020. The Gift Planning Services team will be working from our homes, so please feel free to continue reaching out to us through our normal phone numbers and e-mail addresses. We hope you, your families, and your clients will continue to be safe and healthy. You are in our thoughts and prayers!