Seton & Associates

Lawyers Serving The Nonprofit Ecosystem

Seton & Associates was established in 1998 by Kent Seton for charities and philanthropists. Seton & Associates operates on a set of core values. We are located in Beverly Hills, California, with clients around the country and around the world. We help our clients understand the law and legally comply with it.

Please contact us today for further information.


The nonprofit ecosystem is a fairly diverse field in terms of the players, including founders, funders, philanthropists, board members, CEO’s and Executive Directors, professional solicitors to corporate sponsors and partners, event producers and digital fundraising campaign platforms. It is a relatively complex set of rules that requires an industry insider to provide the best legal advice in understanding all the nuances on how this sector functions in connection with the various sets of rules that are different and nuanced and apply to each player in the context of a structure and/ or transaction.

Seton & Associates is an insider. It represents (and has represented) all of the types of players, not just once, but many times over and over. We merged nonprofit organizations, we have created joint ventures for our clients, set up subsidiaries, helped develop arms-length legal transactions for related entities to name a few of the more interesting engagements. Transactions that can be simple, all the way to the super complex. And, we have represented all of the players above.

That being said, the best advice is to know what you don’t know. We provide you the knowledge (without you having to spend twenty five (25) years of learning to get to the same point). We are on the legal forefront of all the current trends in the “doing good” world and share this with our clients continually.

Bring on a team that will work with you (and not for you). We help you understand tax and legal concepts in super easy to understand language. We create flow charts and other educational memorandum to help you grasp the data in ways that are clear and decipherable. Most importantly, we talk to you in your language. We want you to feel good and to feel like you have command of the legal landscape. After all, you have more important things to do than just know the law, you are changing the world, saving lives and helping the distressed.

We advise nonprofit leaders, nonprofit founders, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit boards, philanthropists and many others on establishing and maintaining their nonprofit legal structures and staying in compliance with the multitude of rules and regulations impacting the nonprofit ecosystem. Our clients range from start-ups to fully grown, multi- million dollar operations. Size is not important but impact is. We don’t simply represent our clients, we educate them. There are five (5) main types of nonprofit legal structures. Each one is different and unique and may (or may not) be advantageous depending upon the set of facts. While there are nuances between each of the five (5), there are commonalities. We explain everything.

Legal advisory work related to private operating and non-operating foundations include:

  • Excess Business Holding Rules
  • IRC 4943 Jeopardizing Investments Rules
  • IRC Section 4958 Excess Benefit Transactions
  • Rules Impacting Professional Fundraisers and Alike
  • Multi-state Compliance Surrounding Solicitations for Charitable Funds
  • Avoidance of Self Dealing Transactions under State Law
  • Avoidance of Self Dealing Transactions of IRC 4941
  • Advisory Work surrounding Activities Triggering IRC Section 513 Unrelated Business Income Tax
  • Joint Ventures with for profits
  • Executive Compensation Advisory Work
  • Advisory Work In Expansion Into New Jurisdictions
  • Legal Advisory in International Transactions
  • Structuring in “Tipping” Transactions
  • Reclassifications of Private Foundations to Public Charity
  • Mergers and Acquisitions of Nonprofit Organizations

All in all, our firm is very conversant in all aspects of the nonprofit ecosystem including representing all of the players like funders (private foundations), professional fundraisers, charitable beneficiaries (public charities), to corporate partners.

If we are unable to assist you, we will find someone who can.

Our Clients

Over the past two decades, we have been honored to work with some highly notable philanthropists, celebrities, and social entrepreneurs. Some of these include:

  • American Red Cross – Greater Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles Mission
  • Los Angeles Urban League
  • St. Vincent’s Meals On Wheels (The largest Meals on Wheels in LA County)
  • United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Los Angeles and Ventura Counties
  • Movember
  • The Starkey Hearing Foundation
  • Magic Johnson Foundation
  • Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Rainn Wilson
  • Kelly Rutherford
  • Royce Clayton
  • Dain Blanton
  • George & Betty Harbaugh Charitable Foundation
  • The Alzheimers Association, Southern California Chapter
  • A Sense of Home
  • The Trevor Project
  • Wanderlust Theater Company
  • DemocracyOS
  • Homejoy Foundation
  • Found Animal Foundation
  • Angel Harvest
  • Woodcraft Rangers
  • Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce
  • National Association for Adoption Rights
  • The Jeffrey Foundation
  • Coalition for Consumer Rights
  • ACEing Autism
  • Serene Foundation
  • Altruism International
  • Integrity Housing
  • Bright Future International
  • San Fernando Valley Estate Planning Council
  • Greek American Cultural Foundation
  • Rod Dedeaux Foundation
  • The Wetzel Foundation
  • Prototypes
  • Ability Awareness
  • Seathos Foundation
  • World Fit For Kids

We’d love to add you to our circle of good. Please contact us today for further information.