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Law & Philanthropy

B761 is taught by P. Purcell

Approximately 1,500,000 tax-exempt organizations in the U.S. provide an array of services, ranging from urban hospitals, major universities, nation-wide social service agencies and grant-making private foundations to grassroots homeless shelters, food pantries and health clinics. Nearly $500 billion in charitable gifts donated each year support these services. Charitable giving takes a variety of forms including outright gifts of cash or property, charitable endowments, bequests in wills or trusts, beneficiary designations of retirement plans or life insurance, gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts paying the donor a lifetime income, and complex charitable lead trusts. Most planning techniques offer significant savings in gift, estate, income and/or capital gains taxes.

This course will review the history and current state of nonprofit corporations and tax-exempt organizations, exploring issues related to their creation, operation and governance for the attorney who may counsel or work for such an organization. Charitable giving tax and other laws will be examined in detail, illustrating the various ways in which an attorney may advise his or her client to consider a charitable gift in the context of an estate plan. Finally, we will show how the field of service to tax exempt organizations offers attorneys a venue for a professional career and/or volunteer public service to fulfill the missions of these organizations.

Students will have an opportunity to meet and question staff and attorneys who counsel charitable organizations and their donors or clients in order to learn more about this unique third sector of American society.

No final exam.

The grade is based on:

1. Class participation,

2. Written analyses of case studies, and

3. Interview report (written report and oral presentation to class) of a meeting with an attorney serving the nonprofit field that I arrange on behalf of each student.