attorney's office is one place where discussions about philanthropic
giving should start, according to Valerie S. Lies, president
of the Donors Forum of Chicago.
, Law Offices of , P.C., a forum associate
member, said he and other lawyers are obligated to inform
clients about philanthropic opinions and to educate clients
about the tax advantages of charitable giving. "Those
who fail to broach the subject should be admonished,"
have an obligation to bring it to the attention of clients,"
said. "It seems to me that
it's an omission if they don't. If I don't ask the question
because I'm afraid of the answer, I'm not a very good lawyer."
represents both donors and charities. "Clients who are potential donors generally have greater
wealth than they or their children are likely to spend,"
topic of philanthropic giving can arise in discussions about
estate and income tax planning, investing, insurance and the
intergenerational ownership or succession of a business,"
about establishing a charitable trust is no surprise to clients
who sit on charitable boards; but clients who have no particular
charitable motivation may need to hear about tax advantages
of trusts," he said.
think the fear is that when an attorney brings [philanthropic
giving] forward, that the client will see this as overreaching,"
an attorney has a good rapport with a client and communicate
candidly and openly, this shouldn't be a problem,"
matter needs to be presented matter-of-factly, and it needs
to be presented non-judgmentally," said. "Then, what you're
really doing is exposing your clients to a range of options. Then the client should walk away happy."
concerns boil down to questions about control and flexibility,"
said. "People worry that
their families might have unforeseen needs for the money,
that the mission of the charity might change, and that parting
with money will affect the family's ability to meet financial
goals. They also ask about tax advantages."
philanthropic giving is becoming a family decision,"
said. "He is handling a trust
that involves four generations of the same family. The
family will come out ahead even after the gift is made.
it's done right, it's a win-win situation," said, "and yet lawyers back
away from it."