Beth Ridout has been in estate planning for almost 20 years, working previously as a Trust Officer with Merrill Lynch in Newport Beach, California, and as a Planned Giving Officer with National Wildlife Federation. She joined The Nature Conservancy 12 years ago and is the Director of Estate Administration at the Worldwide Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. She has her JD from the University of Pittsburgh and a BA in accounting from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She lives in Marin County, California where she trail runs and appreciates daily all the amazing conservation work The Nature Conservancy has accomplished.
Beyond Basic Bequest Administration (AKA: Bequests Gone Bad)
Matured bequest administration is often the "orphan" of planned giving in that little attention or help is provided to planned giving staff regarding how to effectively collect these gifts. Despite the fact that deceased donor gifts are the culmination of a planned giving program, many thousands of bequest dollars remain uncollected or are collected at an unacceptably slow rate. This article provides those charged with the collection of matured donor gifts some highly practical tips and techniques (that do not necessarily require the hiring of an attorney) for collecting what is due their organization. It includes what to ask for and when, what to do if your request is ignored, how to spot problems on accounting and tax returns (including avoiding income taxes, and effectively collecting IRAs/life insurance/POD accounts), how to (politely) decline a request to return your bequest, and when to join in/sit out litigation with or without an attorney. Samples of suggested letters, tax code citations, tax and probate forms are included.