February 2018 Bar Bulletin
By Andrew Prazuch
Do you ever wonder why there are so many flower arrangements at funeral homes, churches and cemeteries when it’s standard practice to see the phrase “in lieu of flowers” in obituaries? I suspect guys like me are part of the problem. I never accept this direction when I see it in an obituary.
Call me old school, but I was raised to send at least a modest plant to family, friends and acquaintances who have lost a loved one. And for closer relatives and friends, we’re talking large flower urns, flowers shaped into wreaths on wire tripods, and sprawling sprays of flowers with satin ribbons remembering the deceased’s relationship of “Mother,” “Uncle” or “Grandpa.”
Flower-giving at funerals is part of my DNA. (And for all those reading this, I better have a lot of flowers when my own time comes or I’m coming back to haunt all my family and friends! I’m talking Don Corleone funeral scene from “The Godfather,” carloads of flowers in the procession to the cemetery! LOL).
Before you think I own a flower shop business on the side from my day job at KCBA and am shamelessly looking for customers, I also admit that I actually do take a cue from those obituaries and in addition to sending flowers I frequently make a charitable gift in the deceased’s name. But I often find myself wishing the family of lawyers and judges would suggest that such donations be made not just to the Alzheimer’s Association or a local Rotary club, but also to a law-related charity. What better way to honor a lifetime of legal work than to make a charitable donation so that aspect of one’s work lives on?
The bar’s charitable arm is the King County Bar Foundation. It accepts donations to support the bar’s pro bono service and diversity programs. Remembering an attorney or judge with a gift to KCBF can be just as thoughtful a remembrance as a gift to a better-known charity. Often, colleagues of a deceased member of the bar or bench will organize a collection of donations to KCBF in the name of the attorney or judge who is no longer with us. We will send the family of the deceased a special letter acknowledging all memoriam gifts and note them in our annual donor report, hopefully inspiring others to make similar contributions.
And for those reading this who have estate plans in place or are just beginning to consider creating them, please likewise consider remembering the King County Bar Foundation in your planning. No gift is too small (or too large). To date, we have a group of more than 20 lawyers and judges who have publicly announced their plans to make such gifts. I’d love to include you on that list. Send me an email or call for more information.
Hopefully we won’t see an estate gift from you for many years to come. In the meantime though, why not start remembering your colleagues, friends and family members with memoriam gifts to the King County Bar Foundation, even if the family doesn’t include gifts to the Foundation “in lieu of flowers?” Unless of course you want to be haunted. (Just kidding.).
Andrew Prazuch is KCBA’s executive director. He can be reached by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (206-267-7061).