Frequently Asked Questions
About The Florida Bar Foundation Planned Giving Program
Question: Doesn’t the Foundation rely on IOTA (Interest on Trust Accounts) revenue?
Answer: More than 30 legal aid organizations in Florida rely on the Foundation for an average of 30% of their combined revenue each year. Including programs like Legal Assistance for the Poor, Law Student Assistance, Improvements in the Administration of Justice, and Children’s Legal Services, the Foundation provides millions in funding annually. However, estimates are that these funds meet only 20% of the true need for legal aid to the poor. Depending on IOTA (Interest on Trust Accounts) income to guarantee this level of funding is like depending on a roller coaster not to make any sudden dips. The Foundation is a 501(c) 3 charity that relies on donations to help smooth out the ups and downs in IOTA income as interest rates fluctuate from year to year.
Question: What exactly does the Foundation do?
Answer: The mission of The Florida Bar Foundation is to provide greater access to justice. The Foundation accomplishes its mission primarily through funding of programs that:
- Expand and improve representation and advocacy on behalf of low-income persons in civil legal matters;
- Improve the fair and effective administration of justice
- Promote service to the public by members of the legal profession by making public service an integral component of the law school experience.
The Foundation is the only organization statewide that supports a comprehensive network of organizations providing access to civil legal services for the poor in Florida. It funds legal services in a variety of areas, including foreclosure, domestic abuse, landlord-tenant issues, immigration, mandated benefits for disabled children and for children in foster care, any many more.
Question: What difference will my gift make?
Answer: All gifts, large and small are welcome. When combined with gifts of many others, they can make a meaningful impact on the lives of children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor.
Question: What does the term “planned giving” refer to?
Answer: Planned giving, sometimes referred to as “deferred giving,” is simply creating a gift using a choice of assets that will have an impact on your tax situation and/or estate plan.
Question: How do I start thinking about a planned gift?
Answer: You can start anywhere. You might think first of what you would like your gift to accomplish, or which group you might like to support, such as children or the disabled. Unrestricted designations to the endowment are the most helpful since they provide Foundation directors the greatest flexibility to make the maximum impact. Also, consider what asset(s) you might use to make a gift. All of these pathways intersect, and will lead toward one another. What is important is that you gather information about various options, then go on to evaluate and discuss them with your financial and/or legal advisors, and of course with your family.
Question: How can The Florida Bar Foundation help?
Answer: The Foundation can be a useful resource in your gift planning. To learn more about our programs, simply explore the Foundation web site at www.thefloridabarfoundation.org. Review the information and stories there to see what interests you, and what you would like to learn more about. Call our Development Department at (407) 960-7000 for further details about various programs.
As you get an idea of what might interest you, and move on to how you wish to structure a gift, you can use a Gift Calculator to explore financial options of various tax-advantaged ways to make your gift. The Foundation can help you sort through which gift plans have the benefits that best match your own situation. We can work with you as well as with your financial advisors about the details of the right gift plan for you.
Question: How many gift plans are there?
Answer: A bequest is the simplest gift plan, and the one most people are familiar with. This means making a provision in your will to pass assets in your estate on to the Foundation.
There is also the charitable gift annuity, a gift through which, based on your age and life-expectancy, you receive a guaranteed portion of your gift back as long as you live, along with upfront as well as annual income tax benefits.
Planned gifts can also be created using life insurance or retirement assets. In fact, almost any asset such as appreciated securities, real estate, and business interests can be used. Charitable trusts can be designed to be part of your estate plan with many tax-advantaged benefits and with your personal legacy interests in mind.
Question: Can my gift create an income stream for family members?
Answer: There are several options that can pay a cash flow to you and your spouse now, or during retirement, can provide income for aging parents, or perhaps can assist a loved one with special needs.
Question: How would my gift be recognized?
Answer: All donors who make planned gifts become members of The Legacy for Justice. For that small group of dedicated supporters, the mission of The Florida Bar Foundation is of such great personal importance that they have chosen to make a special commitment of their resources to ensure that the Foundation’s work can be sustained well into the future.
Members of The Legacy for Justice are formally recognized at the Foundation’s annual dinner, in its annual report, and through a distinctive plaque suitable for display in one’s office or home. At all Foundation events, members also receive a designated ribbon recognizing their commitment as well as a periodic, personalized update on all Foundation progress.
The Legacy for Justice members share the value of access to justice, and by creating their own legacies through The Florida Bar Foundation, they ensure that the values of the Foundation will endure over time due to their generosity.