Planned Gift Tech

Accelerating the Remainder Gift: Two Case Studies

Russell Willis

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.


Ongoing stewardship of a life income gift donor can sometimes include revisiting whether the cashflow from a remainder trust or a gift annuity is still meaningful within the donor's larger financial picture, or whether that income stream might itself be the source of a further deductible gift. This session will present two case studies—one involving the commutation or surrender of a portion or all of the income interest in a charitable remainder trust, outright or in exchange for a gift annuity, and another involving the assignment to the issuing charity of a portion or all of a gift annuity. In each case, we will discuss the tax treatment of these transfers, and we will reflect on some of the planning that might have been done at the outset to anticipate the possibility that the donor might decide at some point to accelerate the remainder gift.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify situations in which the commutation or surrender of an income interest in a remainder trust or the assignment of a gift annuity might be indicated.
  2. Describe the basic tax consequences of each of these transactions, and identify unresolved issues.
  3. Be aware of several potential state law issues affecting each of these transactions.


CFRE: Approved for 1.5 points

CFP: Approved for 1.5 points

CAP: Approved for 1.5 hours CE Credit

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Russell Willis


Russell Willis works as a consultant with nonprofits, donors, and their advisors in structuring charitable contributions of business and real property interests to serve the mutual advantage of all parties. He also provides legal research and advice on income and transfer tax planning more generally. For ten years, Russ wrote daily content for a subscription website, providing in-depth analysis of developments in tax law affecting charitable gift planning. More recently he has launched a fortnightly online newsletter, Jack Straw, analyzing current developments in the law—both tax and nontax—concerning the transfer of private wealth in this country.

Russ is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences on planned giving. He has an undergraduate degree in English literature from Indiana University in Bloomington and a master's in English from the University of Chicago. He earned his  J.D. at St. Louis University and his master's in taxation law at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. For more than twenty years, Russ practiced law in St. Louis, with a concentration in transfer tax planning and in particular charitable gift planning. He chaired the steering committee of the probate and trust law section of the local bar association and served for years on a legislative drafting subcommittee of the probate and trust law committee of the state bar. As an adjunct member of the faculty at the St. Louis University law school, he taught courses in future interests and tax-driven estate planning.