Ray Madoff is a Professor at Boston College Law School where she teaches and writes
in the areas of philanthropy policy, taxes, property and estate planning. Professor
Madoff is the Co-founder and Director of the Boston College Law School Forum on
Philanthropy and the Public Good, a non-partisan think tank that convenes scholars and
practitioners to explore questions regarding whether the rules governing the charitable
sector best serve the public good. 

Professor Madoff is the author of: Immortality and the Law: The Rising Power of the
American Dead (Yale), which looks at how American law treats the interests of the dead
and what this tells us about our values for the living. The Financial Times called it
"a sparkling polemic." Professor Madoff is also the lead author on one of the
top treatises on estate planning: Practical Guide to Estate Planning (CCH) (published
annually from 2001-2014) and has written numerous articles and chapters in a wide variety
of areas involving property and death. 

Professor Madoff’s areas of expertise include philanthropy policy, the rights of the dead
(including the ability of the dead to control their bodies, reputation, and
property),estate taxes, comparative inheritance law, and wealth inequality and taxes. A
regular commentator on a number of these topics, Professor Madoff has appeared on dozens
of national radio shows including On Point, Talk of the Nation, All Things Considered,
Here and Now, and Marketplace, among others. Professor Madoff is a frequent contributor
to the opinion pages of the New York Times, and has also published Op-Eds in the
Washington Post, the LA Times, the Boston Globe and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. 

Professor Madoff is an experienced mediator and leading authority on the use of mediation
to resolve will and trust disputes. Prior to teaching, she was a practicing attorney for
nine years in New York and Boston. 

Professor Madoff is a member of the American Law Institute, an Academic Fellow of the
American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel and past president of the American
Association of Law School’s Trusts and Estates Section. She was named a 2014 Top Women of
the Law by Mass Lawyer’s Weekly. 


Practical Guide to Estate Planning (with Cornelia R. Tenney, Martin A. Hall, and Lisa N. Mingolla) (2012)

Provides an overview of estate planning, offering the widest variety of discussion on planning principles...



Practical Guide to Estate Planning (with Cornelia R. Tenney, Martin A. Hall, and Lisa N. Mingolla) (2011)

Practical Guide to Estate Planning provides an overview of estate planning, offering the widest variety...



Immortality and the Law: The Rising Power of the American Dead (2010)

This book takes a riveting look at how the law responds to that distinctly American...

Practical Guide to Estate Planning (with Cornelia R. Tenney, Martin A. Hall, and Lisa N. Mingolla) (2010)
Practical Guide to Estate Planning (with Cornelia R. Tenney, Martin A. Hall, and Lisa Nalchajian) (2009)



A Tale of Two Countries: Comparing the Law of Inheritance in Two Seemingly Opposite Systems, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review (2014)

Although at first glance French and U.S. inheritance laws appear to be diametrically opposed, this...



5 Myths About Payout Rules for Donor Advised Funds, The Chronicle of Philanthropy (2014)


It's Time to Reform Donor Advised Funds, Tax Notes (2011)

In this article, Madoff argues that the current law governing donor-advised funds provides too much...



What Leona Helmsley Can Teach Us About the Charitable Deduction, Chicago-Kent Law Review (2010)

When Leona Helmsley, the New York hotel and real estate heiress, died in August 2007,...



Autonomy and End-of-Life Decision Making: Reflections of a Lawyer and a Daughter, Buffalo Law Review (2005)

What is the role of autonomy in end-of-life decision making? As a law professor specializing...


Contributions to Books


Inheritances and Death: Legal Strategies in the United States, England and France (with Pierre-Alain Conil), The Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy (2014)


The Perverse History of Dead Bodies under American Law, The Global Body Market: Altruism's Limits (2013)
Removal, Resignation and Death of Fiduciaries (with Elaine M. Moriarty), Massachusetts Probate Manual (2012)


How the Law Constructs Its Understanding of Death, Children's Understanding of Death: From Biological to Religious Conceptions (2011)

In order to understand how adults deal with children’s questions about death, we must examine...

Comment on Tax Consequences on Wealth Accumulation and Transfers of the Rich, Death and Dollars: The Role of Gifts and Bequests in America (2003)

Despite the recent downturn in the stock market, the 1990s boom and the shift to...


Popular Press


How the Government Gives, New York Times (2013)


Tax Write-Off Now, Charity Later, New York Times (2011)


The New Grave Robbers, New York Times (2011)


Give Up on the Estate Tax, New York Times (2010)

Selected Professional Activities

"The Thing That Ate Philanthropy" or The Rise of Donor Advised Funds, Why It is a Problem and What Can be Done About It, Philanthropy, Policy and Technology Scholar Workshop, Stanford University Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (2014)
Mourning in America: What's Law Got to Do With It?, LJST Law & Mourning Lecture Series (2013)

On March 27, 2013, Professor Maddoff presented a paper as part of Amherst College's LJST...

Immortality and the Law - the Rising Power of the American Dead, Rhode Island Bar Association 2012 Annual Meeting (2012)

While American law provides virtually no protections for the interests we hold most dear –...

Keynote Address: Immortality and the Law, University of Basel (2011)

Working Papers


The Role of Judicial Discretion in Dispute Settlement (with James Andreoni), Boston College Law School Faculty Papers (2008)

We consider two common modes of judicial resolution: judicial discretion, where the judge or jury...