Phoenix Living Trusts & Wills Lawyer

Expert planning advice

No surprises – fixed fees

Unlimited access

Free seminars

Achieve your charitable goals more effectively

Gilbert & Chandler Private Foundation Formation LawyersThe formation of a private foundation can be an effective way to achieve your charitable goals and establish a legacy while minimizing tax paid on your assets.

Private foundations are essentially personal charities organized like trusts.

As a nonprofit with funding coming from a sole source (an individual, group, or family) rather than through fundraising, they are highly regulated.

This makes them complex to set up and operate. It can be especially challenging for individuals with no experience in the field.

We help you:

  • Understand your options 
  • Complete IRS Form 1023 – the application you file with the IRS to obtain tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3)
  • Set up your private foundation to best achieve your mission
  • Secure the same tax benefits as other charitable organizations
  • Arrange the necessary steps for compliance and good governance

Is a private foundation the right option?

Before you can decide on whether a private foundation is the correct option for you, we need to understand your main goals for setting it up.

High net-worth individuals often form foundations to achieve goals, such as:

  • Helping the poor and disadvantaged
  • Developing the sciences
  • Developing the arts
  • Improving education
  • Developing religious awareness
  • Benefiting healthcare
  • Bettering international relations 
  • Conservation

Note that you are not permitted to set up a private foundation for political or lobbying causes.

We also need to understand who you want to be involved in running your private foundation: yourself only or family members or other individuals?

Another key area to understand is how you hope to fund the foundation.

What are the downsides of a private foundation?

If your foundation is set up and operated according to best practice and in line with your mission and goals, there are limited downsides.

However, private foundations can be complex to run and administer. Full awareness of the intricacies is required for a private foundation to avoid problems and run effectively. 

For starters, private foundations have the most restrictive regulations of all charitable organizations detailed in the Internal Revenue Code.

You must follow this strict set of statutes or severe penalties can apply for your foundation and the family members involved.

You can also lose foundation status if you fail to comply with the statutes, even if it is done unwittingly (as is sometimes the case).

You must make grants to qualified charities of at least 5% of your private foundation’s holdings every year.

You must file a tax return (Form 990) for your private foundation every year.

Legal advice for the setup and operation of your foundation

The setup of a private foundation is an area for which there is no substitute for experienced advice.

We will help you with the key upfront decisions, as well as the ongoing complexities of operating your fund correctly.

This includes:

  • Setup of your foundation
  • State filings for non-profit corporation
  • Securing tax-exempt status from the IRS (income tax and estate tax)
  • Advisory for compliance and governance
  • Submitting the necessary documents to the IRS (Form 1023, schedules & attachments)
  • Assistance with grant-making to appropriate organizations
  • Legal advice on making prudent investments through the foundation
  • Reviews of foundation operations for compliance purposes

Whether you are just starting out with your idea of forming a private foundation or you are well along the road and need some expert guidance or restructuring advice, we are here to help…

Contact Us Today

We have appeared in:

phoenix estate planning attorneys


When it was time to update our estate plan we turned to Kent Phelps.  We were only two days away from an extended trip overseas and needed it done fast but done right – especially with a child who has special needs.  Our documents were completed, signed, notarized and witnessed in a day! And we were confident it was done right because we had the help of an experienced attorney.  So grateful to Kent for going above and beyond so we could enjoy our trip with peace of mind!
Sarah & Andy Weir
We had known for many years that we needed an estate plan but just never got around to doing it.  Our son hired Kent Phelps to do his estate plan and encouraged us to contact Kent and get it done – so we did!   We immediately felt like Kent “got” our unique family situation and knew just what to do. We wish we had done this sooner but what a great feeling it is to know that what we’ve worked so hard for all these years will be protected and go to the right people when it’s our time.  We highly recommend Kent to anybody who needs an estate planning attorney.
Christine & Arvon Jones
Amazing In Every Way! Kent was amazing. He excelled in communication, and he was very understanding and listened to our unique situation. He explained everything in detail and was an amazing advocate for what we wanted to do. I would highly recommend him and his services. 
Eric Zimmerman
We were looking for an estate planning attorney and were referred to Kent Phelps by a friend.  We felt like he really listened to us as we talked about our family and business and what we wanted to accomplish.  Kent took the time to help us understand how living trusts and LLC’s work and how they can help protect our family and property.   The fixed fee approach was also very appealing to us. We were excited when we received our estate planning and LLC notebooks! Being able to have instructions in our trust that make sure our children receive what we leave them in a way that will truly help, rather than harm them has given us the peace of mind we were hoping for.  So grateful we found Kent!
James & Tiffany Larson
Mr. Phelps has provided exceptional work and advice. I have recommended many family and friends to Mr. Phelps because of his professionalism.
Melissa Debnar
Kent’s unique perspective and focused expertise set him apart from his peers. His willingness to completely understand his client’s goals, and only then offer appropriate suggestions is refreshing. With an ability to take complex asset protection strategy and explain it in common context, it is easy to recommend him.
Tim Norris
Mr. Phelps’s services have been used to handle some amendments to business documents following my divorce. The amendments were thorough and filed in a timely manner. While this was a simple transaction, I fully expect the same level of effort on complex transactions. I highly recommend Mr. Phelps for legal needs.
Lance Weber
Kent has ideas and solutions that were very valuable to us. I have recommended Kent and his firm to many of my associates.
Fred Buck
Kent is an exemplary advocate for his clients. It is an honor to have worked with him and witness his high ethical standards.
Kenneth Shapiro

Upcoming Seminars

Peace of Mind Through Proper Estate Planning  

Presented by Attorney Kent Phelps

Monday, March 16, 2020


Sullivans Steakhouse
1785 East River Road
Tucson, AZ 85718

(Dinner Served)

SEMINAR FULL - Call (833) 927-1031 to get on the wait list

Peace of Mind Through Proper Estate Planning  

Presented by Attorney Kent Phelps

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020


Sullivans Steakhouse
1785 East River Road
Tucson, AZ 85718

(Dinner Served)

SEMINAR POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 - Call (480) 771-0707 to be first in line for the reschedule!

Start your estate plan with a free consultation from our Arizona estate planning attorneys.

Book Now