Family Foundations and Donor Advised Funds

At Buchanan & Stouffer, we understand the importance of charitable giving for many families, especially those with substantial wealth. For more than three decades, our firm has provided comprehensive philanthropic and charitable planning services to clients throughout the Rocky Mountain Region. We specialize in counseling clients on creating and operating private foundations.

A family foundation can take the form of a trust or a nonprofit corporation to which marketable securities or cash are usually contributed, resulting in significant income and/or estate tax deductions. The family retains control over the investment and distribution of the foundation assets to charities. This type of foundation usually lasts for the lifetime of the individual who established the foundation and can (but isn’t required to) continue after his or her death.

A donor advised fund is set up with a sponsor that is a community foundation or charitable foundations established by an investment company. The name of this vehicle reflects the way it works – donors advise on, but do not control, the use of funds. Contributions made to a donor advised fund are administered by the sponsor. Distributions to specific charities are made by the sponsor pursuant to advice given by the donor or the donor’s designated representative. However, the sponsor has the ultimate power to accept or reject this advice.  The donor advised fund typically lasts for a relatively short period of time, unlike the indefinite duration of a family foundation. Many family foundations last for many generations, such as the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.  Finally, there are fewer restrictions on the on the recipients of distributions.

During one-on-one consultations with our Denver attorneys, you will establish and review your long-term estate planning objectives, including:

  • Determining which estate planning vehicle best supports with your philanthropic and financial objectives.
  • Discussing the benefits of both family foundations and donor advised funds.
  • Assisting you with considering your family dynamics, along with your long-term philanthropic goals and the amount of capital you want to devote to your philanthropy

Finding the right vehicle for your charitable undertaking is a complex, nuanced undertaking. Our skilled team of attorneys has decades of experience assisting our clients with this process.

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