Creating a memorial fund

Hi – I am looking for help/advice on this as this is not something I have done before.
A good friend of mine passed away recently. She was a single mom with a teenage son. While she has a will and what I understand to be a fairly large estate, that is all going through probate now.

A number of her friends have inquired if they can contribute to a memorial fund for her son. This aligns well with her wishes that he continue to focus on his education and academic development. Does anyone know how to set something like this up? I talked to his (private) school and they can set up a fund; however it’s unclear at the moment if he will continue going there so that may not be the best option.

Another friend suggested a “go fund me” but others felt that might not be transparent enough in terms of who was managing it and how it was being handled.

I recall in the past being pointed to an account at a bank in similar situations – has anyone done this before and know how to get something similar established? I’d prefer it go directly to a bank account/third party that has her son listed as the owner/beneficiary but I don’t know if I’d need power of attorney to create such a thing (if so, I know someone who has this, but she’s the executor of the will and I am trying to take care of this one thing as she’s dealing with everything else).



It’s tricky and it really depends on how deep you want to get into it. At one of the spectrum is you setting up a tax exempt charity on your own (plan on dealing with the IRS) or at the other is going through a place like where they basically handle the paperwork for a fee.

Personally, I would go through one of the organizations like or or

If the kid is a minor, who did your friend (that passed away) grant custody to? I would coordinate with whoever is going to be the kid’s guardian.

This may be obvious, but I would recommend against giving a boatload of money to a teenage child. I agree with Omar Little that this should be coordinated with the guardian. I have a trust set up for a somewhat irresponsible stepchild with a fiduciary responsible for managing it, but if you trust the child’s guardian that would be the most appropriate person to manage it.