Martin M. Shenkman, Esq., Bernard A. Krooks, Esq., and Jonathan G. Blattmachr, Esq., have written an article about crowdfunding to help disaster victims. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, usually via the internet. In addition to crowdfunding sites for a group of victims, crowdfunding campaigns have been created for specific individuals. For example, there are campaigns on GoFundMe, YouCare and other sites targeted to help individual victims severely injured in the Las Vegas shooting. Many other campaigns exist to help those devastated by recent hurricanes and other emergencies and disasters.
However, despite the substantial sums of money being raised annually through crowdfunding sites, there is little in the way of official guidance for those giving and receiving money this way. The dearth of guidance was brought to the attention of one lawyer, who received a call about helping one of the hundreds of Las Vegas Massacre victims. It soon became clear that the issues were numerous and complex.
In response to the need for some technical guidance, the authors have put together some information to quickly help the many in need. The authors hope to put on notice advisers, the public and those creating crowdfunding campaigns of steps that might help them achieve their goals with greater success and the questions they should be asking.
Some of the questions addressed in the article are:
Can the donations be made tax-deductible to the donors to increase the amount of donations, and perhaps the number of donors?
Can more accountability over the use of donated funds be provided to increase the likelihood that funds raised are used as intended, and that the victims are protected?
Can legal structures be provided that safeguard the funds raised for their intended purpose? For example, if the funds are owned by, or given to, a particular victim, will those funds be entirely consumed by medical care costs that, perhaps, Medicaid might otherwise cover? If so, might a supplemental needs trust arrangement be grafted onto the campaign to protect those funds to serve their intended purpose of helping a victim with the many expenses Medicaid will not cover, and preserving some of the funds to help the victims rebuild their lives?
The answers to these questions and more can be found at the link below. Please read and share.
Crowdsource Funding to Help Victims of the Las Vegas Massacre