Volume 7 • Issue 11 • December 2017

The Counselor is a monthly newsletter of Hallock & Hallock dedicated to providing useful information on estate planning, business succession planning and charitable planning issues. In this month’s issue, we will discuss the power of charitable giving.

In Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Christmas Carol, two individuals approach Ebenezer Scrooge seeking “some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.” They explain: “Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir." The following dialogue then ensues with Scrooge asking:

"'Are there no prisons?' asked Scrooge.

‘Plenty of prisons,’ said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. ‘And the Union workhouses.’ demanded Scrooge. ‘Are they still in operation?’

'They are. Still,' returned the gentleman, 'I wish I could say they were not. The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?' said Scrooge. 'Both very busy, sir.'

‘Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,’ said Scrooge. ‘I’m very glad to hear it.’

‘Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,’ returned the gentleman, ‘a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?’

‘Nothing!’ Scrooge replied.

‘You wish to be anonymous?’

‘I wish to be left alone,’ said Scrooge. ‘Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned-they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.’

‘Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.

’‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Of course we know that the Spirit of Christmas Present subsequently uses these very words to censure Scrooge as he inquires after the wellbeing of the children Ignorance and Want.

Just as the life of Scrooge was changed in the story by the Spirits of Christmas - Past, Present and Future – the Christmas season is a time when we try to turn to our better natures and seek to help those that are less fortunate. At Hallock & Hallock, we believe strongly in the power of giving and we encourage our Clients to consider ways that they can give.

Why Do We Give?

Why do we give? Sometimes the answer may be tax benefits, but there are so many other more compelling reasons. Here are a few:

We give because of our faith.

We give because of a life changing experience.

We give because we see a need.

In his book Who Really Cares, Arthur C. Brooks wrote: “People who give away their time and money to established charities are far more likely than non-givers to behave generously in informal ways as well. . . . For example, one nationwide survey from 2002 tells us that money donors are nearly three times as likely as nondonors to give money informally to friends and strangers. People who give to charity at least once per year are twice as likely to donate blood as people who don’t give money. They are also significantly more likely to give food or money to a homeless person, or to give up their seats to older people on a crowded bus.” Giving makes us better people.

What Can You Do?

The many ways we can give of our time, our talents, and our recourses are innumerable. We (Todd and Sara) wanted to spotlight one way in particular this month. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes referred to as the Mormons. Our Church is urging people of all faiths to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ by serving others. This effort is being called #LightTheWorld and the idea is to share the light of Jesus Christ with others throughout the month of December. We (Sara and Todd) have committed to participating. As part of that commitment, we wanted to share this idea with all of our friends and followers, and encourage each of you, whatever your religious beliefs, to #LightTheWorld.

Day One (December 1) references the scripture found in Matthew 10:8: “Freely ye have received, freely give.” As everything we have is a gift from God, we should be grateful and willing to share. Giving is a two-way street that always benefits both the giver and the receiver. At different times in life, you may be on different ends of that street. On this first day of December we want to encourage you to find a way to freely give. We will try to find ways as well.

We don’t have to go far to find all of the bad things that go on in the world, but we can change this one person at a time. Mother Teresa taught: “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Please consider what you can do today. Please consider participating in #LightTheWorld. We would love to hear your stories. If you want ideas about what you can do to #LightTheWorld please click here.

This Newsletter is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between Hallock & Hallock and the reader.