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Jerry McCoy has been described by colleagues as the lawyer’s lawyer in the trusts and estates practice because of his in-depth knowledge of charitable giving. “Most estate planning attorneys do not have the same level of expertise in philanthropic planning” as McCoy, says Jeffrey Lauterbach, chairman and CEO of the Capital Trust Company of Delaware. As a new lawyer at D.C. tax boutique Silverstein and Mullens in 1968, McCoy was sent to attend congressional hearings on the Tax Reform Act of 1969, and soon became an expert in the area. The Tax Reform Act set up a whole new structure for charitable contributions and operating restrictions for private foundations, McCoy says. The Duke University Law School graduate, who received his master’s of law in taxation at New York University School of Law, spent more than two decades at Silverstein. He then briefly joined the D.C. office of what was then Reid & Priest, where he continued his charitable and estate planning practice. He says he opened up his own practice in the District because the practice allows him more direct contact with his clients. “The clients are really the boss,” McCoy says, “but there’s no one else in between. “I like helping the people who are interested in making charitable gifts . . . and [doing] something worthwhile, as opposed to helping them build a new shopping center.” McCoy, 63, advises existing charitable organizations and helps create new ones. He says he represents slightly more charitable organizations than individuals. Forming charitable entities generates technical tax questions about the use and purpose of the organizations. He also obtains private letter rulings, where he requests written tax opinions from the Internal Revenue Service, and files exemption applications with the IRS for newly formed charities. McCoy has an “outstanding reputation” at the IRS, which is helpful in the practice, says Lauterbach, who has known McCoy for about 20 years. When he is not advising his clients, McCoy is speaking and writing on trusts and estates issues dealing with charitable contributions. He’s a co-author of the Family Foundation handbook that contains guidelines and suggestions on starting and operating a foundation. He also travels annually to Miami, where he teaches a one-week course for the University of Miami School of Law’s estate planning master’s degree program. McCoy also keeps tabs on the legislative developments related to charitable giving. For example, he is closely watching and supporting a bill that would allow individuals to donate their IRA assets to charity with no tax consequences.

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