Nonprofit Law/Forming a What?


We have an inactive corporation. We want to reactivate it, change the name and change it to a non-profit. We want to form a charity, foundation, organization or whatever.
Our son died, yesterday, after fighting the horrific disease, ALS.
We want to help families like ours get information from experts concerning insurance, a will, SS, final arrangements, etc.
But, the big help we want to provide is home health care. Health insurance and Medicare won't cover it until it's bad enough that it is medically necessary.
Our son just turned 43, last month. Two other patients we know are even younger. One of them is in his mid-thirties and has 2 children, 7 & 9. The other was diagnosed a couple of months before his 30th birthday, right after his 2nd child was born. The older child is in Kinderguard.
Neither of them can work anymore. Like our son, they had to stop working after just a few months. Their wives have to work outside the home to keep a roof over their heads. They need help, but help is not covered in their insurance or Medicare, and their SS benefits are not even close to what their pay checks were.
They can't afford to hire any help, and are continuous losing the control of their hands, legs, etc. We want to provide this help from volunteers and nurses, etc. who are paid from the non-profit.

I am sorry to receive the news of your son.

States do not have a procedure to change a for-profit into a nonprofit corporation. Even if they did allow it, the procedure to start from zero and form a new nonprofit corporation is easier and less expensive.

You would need to establish a charitable trust, incorporate under a state's nonprofit corporation
law, or set up an unincorporated nonprofit association. Your organizing document would need to state that it is organizing under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). You would have at least 3 directors, with control of the board not in related persons.

  After the initial set up, you would need to apply for
a EIN (tax id number)
and then you could apply for the IRS exemption
determination letter which could be effective
retroactively to the date of establishment of the
organization. The IRS minimum filing fee for such a
determination letter is $400 and goes up to $850.

See the IRS Publication 557 "Tax Exempt Status for Your
Organization" at:

The organization must have the required clauses in the
organizational document even if your organization is not
required to apply for federal exemption if you want the
benefits of being an exempt organization.
See, starting in the middle column of page 26 of
Publication 557  under "Organizational Test". Samples
start on page 77. Also you must operate as a 501(c)(3)
organization (see that publication 557 for the general

The Application for Exemption is at:

I would be willing to work on your matter further, but I would need to spend a substantial amount of time in drafting documents and that would be beyond the scope of my offer of free services.  If you want to inquire about hiring me for such work, please contact me directly to the email address below.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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