the real/estate blog

Giving and taking back

Posted in Charitable giving,Estate Planning by Cesia Green on June 4, 2013
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I came acroShelter catss this story the other day about a gift left to charity that ended up in the wrong place. Basically, the donation was accidentally sent to the wrong animal shelter; both had the same name, but were in identically named cities in different states.

In this particular situation, the money had to be given to the correct shelter; you can’t keep money you received by mistake, even if you are a charity. If, on the other hand, the situation had been that the other shelter no longer existed, the money could have been given to this shelter as a similar organization.

If you are leaving money to charity, it is very important to make sure that you have checked the name of the charity, but it is also important to allow for your executor to give money to a general charitable purpose in case that charity no longer exists or has changed its name.


Feeling good about giving to charity

Posted in Charitable giving by Cesia Green on November 20, 2012

Many of you probably remember watching the show Friends. In the fifth season, there was an episode where Phoebe was trying to do a good deed that she didn’t feel good about. In the end, she tried to give money during a telethon to PBS, which she hated. The donation got Joey on television, however, which then made her feel good.

According to a new study, feeling good about making a donation is a fairly regular occurrence. There are differences between giving a bequest and volunteering, but generally speaking, brain scans show that you will feel better about yourself and the world if you give.

You can check out the study here.

Advice for advisors

Posted in Charitable giving,Estate Planning,Tax by Cesia Green on June 12, 2012
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I missed blogging last week for what I think was a very good reason: I am on the planing committee for a golf tournament for the Barrie Women and Children’s Shelter. This was the third annual tournament, but we still needed to be planning since September of last year, with a lot of last-minute items to go through last week. It was somewhat consuming in the days before the tournament, which is why I had nothing on my mind but golf all of last week. The tournament was last Friday, and was a resounding success, raising almost $12,000.00 for the shelter.

With charitable events still on my mind, I wanted to talk today about a website I just learned of called This is a website designed to help professionals – lawyers, acc0untants, financial planners, etc. – help their clients through research, practice tips, commentary and other tools. There are various products, all with a fee attached, that are available to help us help our clients with what can be very complex decisions about both current charitable giving and also about bequest planning.

This is certainly an interesting option for estates, tax and finance professionals and could be an extremely useful tool in assisting clients with making charitable donations.

Putting your money where your mouth is

Posted in Charitable giving,Estate Planning by Cesia Green on January 3, 2012

I read this article a while ago about Joseph Flom, a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meaghar & Flom LLP in New York who grew up very humbly, and built his firm  into a global company with 24 offices around the world (including one in Toronto). When he died in February last year, he left the majority of his considerable estate to various charities – $50 million to a charitable foundation that funds organizations like the Innocence Project, $2 million to Harvard Law School for research on health law and bioethics, and $1 million to a fellowship to allow law students and young lawyers pursue public interest work., among other bequests. His son was quoted as saying that he expected his children to earn their own way, and that he intended for his estate to go to charity.

As an estate planning lawyer, I advise my clients on a regular basis about the benefits (financial and otherwise) of leaving money to charitable organizations. Joseph Flom lived this.

Teaching our youth to give

Posted in Charitable giving by Cesia Green on October 25, 2011

Here’s a great idea: teach children and teens how to give intelligently, and they will continue to be philanthropic throughout their lives. Javier Espinoza wrote this article in the Wall Street Journal last year about programs in the UK and US that are doing just that. Programs like Philanthropy in Schools and Youth and Philanthropy are teaching children how to be “intelligent givers” – looking at charities to be sure that they are spending donations wisely, and giving to charities that they find are doing good work that is needed in the community.

Hopefully these programs will help philanthropic children become philanthropic adults.