Donation Do or Don’t?


Our friends Gina and Bill recently met with a lawyer – we’ll call him Edward – about estate planning services.  This lawyer was a friend of a friend, and he came highly recommended.  Gina and Bill were about to hire Edward – when something fortuitous happened…

They were at a charity auction, and noticed one of the items was a donation from Edward for estate planning services. They bid, and much to their surprise, they won!  Their winning bid was only $2500 – about half of what his fee would have been – and because it was a charity donation they also got a tax write off.  They were ecstatic and danced the night away…

Eventually, it got back to Gina and Bill through their mutual friend that Edward was annoyed that they won his services at the auction rather than hire him outright as they had planned.  Edward had donated to the auction in the hopes of gaining new clients – not to give discounts to clients whose business he had already won…

Now Gina at Bill are at odds about what to do.  Gina feels awkward and wants to offer to at least pay Edward something for his services.  Bill thinks she’s being ridiculous and that they did nothing wrong since there was no stipulation about who was allowed to bid on the item.

So – what would you do? Do you think Gina and Bill erred? Or is Edward the one overreacting?  What would you do?





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Any Thoughts?