I'm afraid being a non-profit lawyer ruined my enjoyment of a recent episode of the NBC series "Medium," a weekly drama featuring a woman whose dreams help solve crimes. It was a clever plot, but the TV writers bollixed it up because they didn't understand how charitable assets are handled.
A married woman is having an affair with a dentist who is also chairman of a local foundation that provides charity dental care to poor children. The cheating woman has a $7 million insurance policy on her life, the primary beneficiary of which is her husband. The secondary beneficiary on the policy is the local dental foundation.
On the other hand, the public is very aware of the presence and powers of the IRS. But might the public also believe the IRS has nothing to do with the regulation of charities? Judging from this story, such seems to be the case.
Maybe the TV writers have done us non-profit lawyers a favor. They're the ones who concocted this plot, and if they know anything they know their audience. If the audience can believe this story, we have work to do.