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Charitable Giving in California

Today is the grand opening of the Sacramento Children’s Museum.  My wife, Kathleen, is the founder of this museum. I still remember the day in late 2004 or early 2005 that we were driving home from the Bay Area, having enjoyed our visit to Berkelely’s Habitot, we were around Dixon or Davis, and she said, “I want to open a children’s museum in Sacramento….”  That day she called a couple of friends, within a month she had incorporated with the state of California, and filed for 501c3 status with the IRS.   Today, 6+ years later, is a very sweet day for our family. It’s the culmination of years of hard work, ups and downs, good connections, good connections gone bad, people moving, people joining, etc…. However, watching it on the local news this morning was pretty incredible for me and my kids. Shoot, my 8 year old son Michael was ok to change it off cartoons and watch the news for an hour to wait and see the museum on TV… “the museum that mommy owns.”

As an estate planning attorney I help clients do similar things sometimes.  Maybe it’s setting up family foundations during life or to take effect after death.  For others it’s helping to coordinate charitable gifts during life or after death to charities that are near and dear to their heart.  For still others it’s more complex charitable planning with charitable remainder trusts. For all of these tools it’s important to have a licensed estate planning attorney helping. It also doesn’t hurt for that attorney to be a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning Law as I am by the California Bar State Board of Legal Specialization.

Yes, doing your revocable trusts, wills, powers of attorney, etc… are important for avoiding probate, minimizing taxes, and carrying out your wishes. However, charitable work can be the most special for you and your family.

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