AAFP Foundation Offers Members Estate Planning, Giving Tools

March 23, 2011 03:30 pm News Staff

The AAFP Foundation has updated its website to help family physicians combine their philanthropic goals with their long-term financial and estate plans. Specifically, the Foundation has introduced an enhanced section devoted to estate planning and planned giving(aafp.giftlegacy.com).

"There are tips, tools and services to help family physicians prepare for the future, make sure that their family is taken care of and that everything is in order," said Craig Doane, executive director of the AAFP Foundation. "These tools and services can help them put their plan together."

New features of the website include

  • a will planner;
  • presentations on estate planning topics;
  • information about different types of gifts; and
  • a gift calculator, which helps determine income and tax benefits associated with charitable remainder unitrusts, charitable remainder annuity trusts, charitable gift annuities and deferred charitable gift annuities.

"Most people don't even have an up-to-date will," Doane said. "That's something everyone should have, especially if they have children and any wealth whatsoever."

In fact, a national survey(press-room.lawyers.com) conducted last year for a legal website reported that in 2009, only 35 percent of Americans had a will and a little more than half possessed any sort of estate planning documents. Those numbers were down from 2004, when 55 percent of Americans surveyed reported having estate planning documents, and 42 percent reported having a will.

More than 70 percent of respondents indicated that the economic downturn had led them to focus on meeting immediate needs rather than on long-term planning. People might not realize, however, that options such as a charitable gift annuity provide an income stream and tax incentives, according to Doane.

"There are planned-giving programs that offer opportunities for positive return on investment during economic uncertainty," he said.

The AAFP Foundation's website also offers resources for financial advisers, financial news and information, and "donor stories" that illustrate the benefits of donating to the Foundation.

Doane said the AAFP Foundation's planning resources are free to Academy members and come with no obligation to the Foundation. Members may wish to consider supporting the work of the AAFP Foundation through bequests and other forms of planned gifts, he said. Members who do so become a part of the AAFP Foundation Legacy League(www.aafpfoundationlegacyleague.org).

"This is a valuable resource for their personal planning," said Doane. "There's a lot of great information."