Program Administration and Management

The Relevance of Probate for Charitable Beneficiaries

Fredrick Weber

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4, 11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.


The process of death-related administration of estates and trusts can be daunting. While touching briefly on the broader topic of death-related administration for charitable beneficiaries, this presentation will focus primarily on the relevance of the probate process when charitable beneficiaries are in the mix. We will briefly explore the history of probate in advance of a more detailed examination of the probate process and probate “avoidance,” and the significance of that history and these concepts for charitable beneficiaries. Specifically, we will explore the impact of a formal probate proceeding on charitable interests, and look at how the probate process can serve as a sword and a shield for the protection of charitable beneficiaries. We will also examine some real-life situations involving the probate of estates that include charitable legacies, and we will discuss some of the pros and cons of formal probate proceedings for charitable beneficiaries.

Learning Objectives

  1. Gain a better understanding of the process of death-related administration, with a specific focus on the probate process and its impact on charitable beneficiaries.
  2. Improve the interaction between planned giving professionals and the executors, personal representatives, trustees and other fiduciaries responsible for the delivery of their charitable legacies following a death.
  3. Increased knowledge of the rights and responsibilities of charitable beneficiaries in death-related administration of estates and trusts that will involve or require a formal probate proceeding.


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Fredrick Weber

Director, Central Region Estate Settlement Services, Northern Trust Company Wealth Management

Fred Weber leads the Central Region Estate Settlement Services Practice for Northern Trust Company’s Wealth Management business. Based in Chicago, Fred’s team handles death-related administration of estates and trusts when Northern Trust acts as a fiduciary for clients who have died. Fred previously worked for another corporate fiduciary, and spent several years in private law practice as a trust, estate and probate attorney. Fred has also worked as a planned giving officer for a public charity. Before law school, Fred worked in Washington, DC, as an aide to the late U.S. Senator Paul D. Wellstone (D-MN). Fred has presented to the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), and the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners. Fred also served as an adjunct professor at John Marshall Law School where he developed and taught a course on death-related administration of estates and trusts. Fred currently serves on the board of the Chicago Estate Planning Council, and he is also a board member and past president of Shalva: A Response to Domestic Abuse in Jewish Homes. Fred received his BA from the University of Minnesota and his J.D. from DePaul University. He is licensed to practice law in Illinois, and he resides in Chicago with his wife and three sons.