Husch Blackwell’s Erblich offers insights at Annual Meeting
By Amy Sorter
Special to the TJP
Chris Erblich wants people to know one thing about estate planning, something that has nothing to do with estate tax. The managing partner with Phoenix-based Husch Blackwell LLP indicated that “90 percent of wealthy families will go from shirtsleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations.” The reason why wealth tends to be squandered within three generations? “What people don’t spend time on,” Erblich explained “is figuring out ways to pass down values. Passing wealth down without values can be destructive.”
Erblich, who is highly passionate about this topic, will be the main speaker at the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation’s Annual Meeting, which will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Aaron Family JCC. There, amid a lavish dessert selection, attendees will learn the importance of values and estate planning, no matter the size of the estate.
“Passing the values down is more important than passing the wealth down,” Erblich noted. “That’s true, whether you’re passing down a dollar, $100, or $1 million.”
Erblich said the fundamental question to be answered concerning wealth is what the money will be used for, beyond the necessities. Philanthropy is certainly important, but even more vital is the reason behind the giving. “People need a purpose,” Erblich said. “They need to know their values.” Such values can differ from family to family, he noted, adding that donating to an organization such as the Foundation helps broadcast a specific purpose of wealth and giving to family members.
Erblich’s information, as well as that passed along from other experts in Annual Meetings past, is what helps make the Foundation’s annual events somewhat different from others of its type. “When people hear the term ‘Annual Meeting,’ they think about a bunch of tired speeches and nothing else,” said Meyer L. Bodoff, Dallas Jewish Community Foundation president and CEO. Yes, the Foundation January event will have board elections and Sylvan T. Baer Foundation award presentations to Jewish community organizations. But year after year, it is the speakers, and their audience-friendly presentations, that are the main draw. “It’ll be a fun night,” Bodoff said. “Plus, nobody does dessert like we do.”
As an aside, the desserts are being offered up by Taste of the World Catering, and according to Dallas Jewish Community Foundation Director of Scholarships and Programs Mona Allen, they are “show-stoppers.”
Though satisfying the sweet tooth could be considered a decent lure to the event, the main purpose of the Annual Meetings is to encourage all individuals from the community to attend. Bodoff indicated that, as the Foundation represents all age groups, socioeconomic strata and sectors of Judaism — a “true cross-section of the community,” as he puts it — the main speakers are selected to appeal to everyone.
“Last year (2017), Morgan Stanley’s national vice president of philanthropy was the speaker, and she had an excellent presentation,” Bodoff said. “Chris’ presentation will be markedly different.” He went on to say that people don’t generally have the opportunity to learn about estate planning and ways to make a difference, even if they aren’t thousandaires, millionaires or billionaires. “Information like that is typically presented in technical, IRS and legal terms,” Bodoff added. “This presentation will be in a way that the average person can understand.”
And Erblich himself is no stranger to the DJCF. “He spoke a few times to our professional advisors, for continuing education classes,” Allen said, adding that those sessions tended to be more technical, and geared toward an audience of lawyers, estate planners and accountants. Erblich’s most recent presentation to DJCF professional advisors focused on handing down values in tandem with wealth. The topic resonated, and Allen said the presentation would be perfect for the Annual Meeting. Furthermore, “Chris will be presenting in a way that is geared toward non-professionals, helping them gain from his insights and understanding,” Bodoff said.
As for Erblich, he considers it an honor to present at the DJCF event. “It’s my honor to have this opportunity,” he said. “This group truly has an incredible purpose and mission that is impacting other people, and I’m thrilled to be doing this.”
The Dallas Jewish Community Foundation’s 2018 Annual Meeting will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas. Reservations are required by Jan. 18. For more information, visit http://www.djcf.org/annualmeet2018.