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Philanthropy 831 Blog


Philanthropy 831 Blog about the people and organizations invested in the future of Santa Cruz County.

Helping People Plan Their Financial Future and Give Back to Our Community
By Guest Bloggers / February 23, 2016

[We asked Emily Buchbinder, a professional advisor and one of our newest board members to share a bit of her story with you about herself and why she loves her work.]

I Love to Learn

I calculated that I have 28 years of education, starting from kindergarten, so I guess you could say that I love to learn.  

I grew up in the Boston area and came to California to attend college. I started at UC Santa Cruz and graduated from UC Berkeley. My most recent degree is a Master of Laws in Taxation. I've lived in Aptos since 1988.

Emily Buchbinder

I'm Passionate About My Work 

As an estate planning attorney, I specialize in helping all of my clients avoid mistakes that can result in more taxes, or go to unintended beneficiaries. 

Many of my clients come to see me when they have lost a spouse or a parent. 

It’s a devastating event and people feel especially vulnerable. I get a tremendous sense of satisfaction being a trusted advisor to my clients during that time. 

For those who have done no planning for their own estate, I help them with the process creating all the necessary documents.  I think my clients sleep better at night knowing they have a plan in place that will avoid the need for a conservatorship during their lives, avoid probate at death and provide for a smooth transfer of their assets to the people and, in some cases, charities they've selected.  


Community Foundations Good for My Clients Good for the Community

What I would say to other advisors about working with a community foundation is that they are a valuable resource for clients. I found out about how my clients can work with the Community Foundation to create a memorandum of charitable intent, or MOCI, by attending a presentation at the Community Foundation.

My community foundation (and I'm now on the board!) is a wonderful resource for advisors working with clients who want to leave some money to charities, but are concerned about the cost of making changes in the future. 

I found that my clients were able to be guided in selecting charities and exploring charitable giving options, by working with the Community Foundation's staff. 

For my clients, knowing they can change their MOCI at any time, and at no cost, is appealing. I always tell charitably inclined clients about this option. It’s good for them and good for the community.  


Emily J. Buchbinder, Esq. is an attorney and principal of the Law Offices of Emily J. Buchbinder. Her areas of practice include estate planning, trusts, wills and tax law. She is a member of the Santa Cruz Women Lawyers Association and the Santa Cruz County Estate Planning Council. She holds degrees from Golden Gate University, Monterey College of Law, Brown University and UC Berkeley. She joined our board, beginning in 2016.

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