2017 Annual Professional Advisor Seminar 

Business Succession Expert Turney Berry Headlines 2017 Seminar 

On September 28th, CICF welcomed over 140 local professional advisors to the annual CICF Professional Advisor Seminar, featuring Turney Berry, partner at Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP and nationally recognized leader in the areas of estate and business planning, estate and trust administration, and charitable giving and tax-exempt organizations. Mr. Berry focused his remarks on succession planning for closely held businesses.  

Mr. Berry first touched on his self-proclaimed list of “Things I think about when I think about tax reform,” providing insights on the newly released tax reform framework. He then went on in his first hour, entitled Nothing Succeeds Like Successful Succession, to talk about the issues business owners face and how tax-smart planning and successful navigation of family dynamics can help advisors ensure that their clients avoid common pitfalls. Mr. Berry turned to the topic of gifting closely held business assets to charity in his presentation Giving the Business…to Charity. He discussed how closely held business interests can be gifted to charitable trusts to aid in estate and income tax avoidance.  

The morning was capped with a panel discussion featuring Mr. Berry and local experts Gina Giacone, partner at Ice Miller, LLP, Holly Pantzer, partner at BKD, LLP, and Mary Stanley, CICF’s director of charitable gift planning and legal affairs. The panel was moderated by Karin Veatch, wealth advisor at J.P. Morgan Private Bank and current CICF Professional Advisor Leadership Council Chairman. The panel fielded questions from the audience and Ms. Veatch regarding real-world challenges they have faced working with donors of closely held business interests.

EXCERPT from the Panel discussion

-moderated by Karen Veach 

How often do you get asked if you can just pop up a private foundation when someone sells a business? What do you take into consideration when that happens? 

Gina Giacone: I start asking questions about what exactly does the business owner want to accomplish? Is the business owner trying to avoid payment of capital gains tax on part of the sale of the shares? Is the business owner trying to get a charitable deduction as part of this? Is it an S Corp, C Corp or partnership? How far along are you on the deal? 

Once we talk through some issues, sometimes it’s the case that it makes sense to sell the business and transfer cash afterwards, but we always try to educate our folks about coming here early because that’s when we can help the most.   

Are clients hesitating to do any gifting or irrevocable techniques in light of the uncertainty surrounding new legislation and new tax codes? 

Holly Pantzer: I think in general, clients are hesitating, as are we as advisors. Everything is so uncertain. We’re in a wait and see approach, honestly. BKD has a new podcast that just went public a couple of weeks ago called, Simply Tax. It features interviews with Ed Karl, vice-president of taxation at the AICPA and he gives his opinions about where he thinks things are and the process.  

Mary, can you tell us about some success you’ve seen recently where a business owner made a donation of closely held shares? 

Mary Stanley: We’ve had a lot of success stories lately. One that comes to mind was actually with Gina and her firm. One of our long-time donor-advised fund holders created a donor-advised fund with a gift of what I think was his first business, about $200,000. He built up another business after that and Gina and one of her partners assisted with the transfer of several million dollars into that donor-advised fund when he sold another business.  

It’s fun to just be a part of the team, but also to be able to accept that business interest and liquidate, too. 

Gina: And CICF and Mary and her team were very easy to work with, it’s not just a grant agreement, it’s more complicated than that. There were business documents that had to be signed, that had to be added as a party of course to the purchase agreement. And CICF was very willing to work with us on a very quick timeline to get things reviewed and turned around… Since they’ve done this before, they know what to expect, and so it made it very easy to accomplish. We had a very happy donor at the end. 

How often does somebody want a private foundation as an entity, but you end up dialing back to a donor-advised fund? 

Holly: There’s a cost in filing a private foundation tax return every year, so I sort of cringe if someone wants to put less than two to five million into a private foundation. I see it coming 10 years from now, “Why do we have this?” 

It’s paperwork for them… I cringe at billing someone for a tax return every year, and it’s probably not as valuable for the donor… A lot of times you start talking to the donor and explain this is an entity and you have to have three board members, board meetings, corporate records, a lot of other administrative things when what you’re really interested in is granting money.  

 The donor-advised fund can give them so much support and the foundation takes care of all the paperwork for them. 

sign up here to receive our quarterly e-newsletter for professional advisors and be among the first to hear about our seminars. 

Leave A Comment