Helping People Live Their Values
Candise Holmlund spends quite a lot of time thinking about money. For her, it’s an occupational hazard. As a partner at Weatherly Asset Management in Del Mar, Holmlund advises people about their wills, trusts and other financial documents as part of their wealth management. She helps them find the right ways to protect their resources and support causes they care about. It’s a highly personalized endeavor, since every family has its own dynamics, goals and concerns. To some degree, Holmlund acts as counselor, giving people the tools to determine the best uses for their assets. And for the vast majority of her clients, philanthropy is fundamental. “Most of our clients are charitably inclined, and we’re talking to them constantly about estate planning and the many ways to give,” she says.
For Holmlund, philanthropy is much more than a conversation she has with clients; it’s essential to her personal values, as she supports many local charities. She also chairs Scripps Health Foundation’s Gift Planning Advisory Council, which supports the hospital system’s philanthropic staff in their efforts to encourage planned giving. For Holmlund, it’s all about helping people live their values.
Making a plan
Setting up a sound financial plan is a critical first step. Holmlund helps clients assess where they are financially, and where they want to be. There are a lot of moving parts: children, grandchildren, property, taxes. Philanthropy plays a big role in these meetings.
“We discuss what is appropriate for them, given how much money they want to give,” she explains. “Once we put together a financial plan, we can get a better handle on how much they can contribute and the best method of giving.”
Some of Holmlund’s clients prefer to set up bequests through their estate, which are distributed after their death. But when practical, she encourages them to give while they’re still alive, so they can see how their donations translate into good work in the community.
Planned gifts, such as charitable gift annuities and charitable remainder trusts, can be a tax-wise solution. In addition to providing philanthropic support, they can mitigate capital gains and estate taxes and provide lifetime income. For families who have appreciated stocks, real estate or other assets, these vehicles are a great way to support their preferred charities and solidify their planning. “Sometimes, they receive an income stream that benefits their overall financial plan,” Holmlund says.
They get to see the impact of their donation to a charity while they are alive, and they get the benefit of receiving an annuity with a stable income stream that lasts their lifetime. — Candise Holmlund
Updating the documents
At times, Holmlund has had clients who’d never put together a will or trust, which leaves their families quite vulnerable after they die. Fortunately, these days, that’s a rare occurrence. Most families have some estate planning in order. More commonly, people create a trust and never think to update it.
Unfortunately, after a few years some aspects of it may be out of date. The trust may not reflect changes in tax law, family dynamics or other important factors. “A dated trust can be a burden on the surviving spouse,” Holmlund says. “There are all kinds of pieces that can be important that people don’t understand. Our role is to know the tax and estate law changes—‘Here are issues that may apply to you.’ If it’s been more than seven to eight years, I encourage people to address that, coordinating with the appropriate professionals.”
Scripps Health Foundation has developed a guide to wills that goes through many of the ins and outs of planning a will or trust. In addition to the obvious financial issues, there are many other questions that should be answered: How should health care be managed? If severe health issues should develop, who will have power of attorney for health care or guardianship? If the family has small children, who will care for them? By finalizing these decisions in writing, families ensure their wishes are carried out, regardless of circumstances.
Holmlund loves what she does, and though these professional and volunteer activities keep her quite busy, each conversation is a labor of love. “I feel fortunate to be in a position to marry all these things together,” she says, “and to be able, in some small way, to make a difference.”
Or call Scripps Health Foundation’s Office of Gift Planning at 858-678-7120