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Attorneys, real estate brokers, bankers, accountants, stock brokers, financial planners, and life insurance agents who are members of your congregation can be a tremendous help to your program. These people can give you referrals to excellent professional advice (helping you to create a list of local attorneys your members might contact for estate planning and wills preparation, for instance), present workshops, and join the team to ask for gifts.

Most people realize that estate planning is a vital part of preparing for the future. However, few people understand that charitable gift planning offers significant benefits to an individual estate plan. Planned gifts, for example, often reduce the amount subject to estate taxes, preserving more to go to heirs. You can inform individuals and professional planners on ways to improve an estate plan by including charitable gifts.

Professionals who are not members of your congregation may be able to offer new ideas and valuable insights about your Planned Giving program. Don't forget to consult other church groups in your community; they are asking for bequests and other planned gifts, too.

Avoid the temptation to use professionals within your congregation as legal counsel to donors or to your planned giving program. Donors need independent counsel to look after their interests. Professionals who are members of your congregation will do a great service if they join the planned giving committee and help the church to obtain its own independent counsel at modest fees, if not for free.

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