Your FAQs About Successor Advisors

hawkins@growyourgiving.org Individual & Family Giving

Successor advisors are important in continuing your charitable legacy beyond your lifetime. Whitney Hosty, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, answers your questions about the role of successor advisors.

Q: What is a successor advisor?
A: Successor advisors are the individuals from whom our staff will take direction about your charitable fund when you are no longer able to do so, particularly regarding decisions around grantmaking and investments.

With a charitable fund at the Community Foundation, you can enjoy flexibility even beyond your lifetime. There are many options available to you and your successor advisors:

  • Gather and Unify
    Your successor advisors can make grants based on your documented charitable intent.
  • Divide and Multiply
    You can split your original donor-advised fund into multiple funds so each successor advisor has their own fund from which they can grant to their favorite charities.
  • Leave the Work to Us
    We can manage the grantmaking from your fund based on your documented charitable intent.
  • Hybrid
    You can designate a portion of your charitable assets for your successor advisors to grant from while we grant the remaining assets according to your documented plans.

Q: Who should I name as a successor advisor?
A:  Many donors name their child or children as a way of choosing to continue the legacy of giving within their family. You may also name a close friend or someone in the next generation, or you may consider choosing someone who shares similar values or interests regarding how you give back to your community.

Q: Can I name my young children as successor advisors?
A: You can name anyone 18 or older as a successor advisor. We recognize the value of including kids in giving back from an early age. While your young kids won’t be able to make decisions regarding grantmaking or investments until the age of 18, it is still helpful to let us know that you want your kids to assume that role when they’re able. Until then, you can name another trusted adult as a successor advisor.

Q: How many people can I name as successor advisors?
A: As many as you wish! We can work with multiple generations to ensure your charitable legacy continues beyond your lifetime.

Q: What information do you need about the successor advisors?
A: All we need to know is how to reach them in your absence. Names, contact information, and any other details you want to provide. We understand that relationships change over time, so this isn’t a permanent decision. You can easily update your successor advisors in the online donor portal under the “advisors” tab. You can also contact the Donor Services team with any questions about your fund.

Q: What if I don’t want to name a successor advisor?
A: There are many options available based on the legacy you want to leave behind. If you don’t name a successor advisor, you can leave the work to us. We can manage the grantmaking from your fund based on your documented charitable intent.

Q: How can I involve my successor advisors in my giving now?
A: We offer multigenerational educational opportunities and invite you to attend with your family or close friends. You can also share your granting activity with your successor advisors by including them as additional email recipients in the online donor portal when you make a grant from your fund. Transparency in your charitable activity will allow your successor advisors to carry on your charitable legacy.

Q: How can I talk to my successor advisors about this decision?
A: Often we see donors setting up a charitable fund or naming successor advisors as a part of their larger estate planning. While documenting your estate plans is critical, we also know the value of including giving in your everyday conversation. Studies show that storytelling among generations passes along values and resilience. Sprinkling in informal discussions around giving back, volunteering together, and talking about the causes you care about over the long term can make a big impact.

Don’t know where to start? Our philanthropic advisors are trained in guiding you through exercises that help explore what’s meaningful to you on your philanthropic journey. We can help you make decisions about your charitable legacy that align with your values and goals. Contact our team of philanthropic advisors to start a conversation about how we can help you.

Authored by: Whitney Hosty, Senior Philanthropic Advisor