Ray D. Madoff


Leona Helmsley named a number of beneficiaries under her will (both human and canine), but among the unnamed beneficiaries are scholars interested in studying the role of philanthropy in the United States. By directing that an estimated $8 billion be used for the benefit of dogs, Mrs. Helmsley brought in to high relief policy issues regarding the appropriateness of the unlimited charitable deduction. I argue that these concerns are equally applicable, albeit less obvious, when it comes to more traditional charitable bequests. In this paper I will discuss the appropriateness of the unlimited estate tax deduction (particularly in light of the broad definition of what constitutes charitable) and the issues raised by perpetual private foundations.