Department Report

Fast Facts

Legal work for estate planning fills 60 percent of David Duncan's time; the remainder is spent on "church" law.

Duncan has been NPUC legal counsel since 1984.

Duncan works through enough paper each year to create several stacks equal to his height.


The NPUC office of general legal counsel provides guidance with a goal of minimizing legal exposure and liability. It supplies a unique and valuable perspective because of its close association and understanding of the structure and operation of the church.


To provide effective and ongoing access to legal counsel to church leadership at all levels and to minimize legal risks and distractions in order to permit the church to actively focus on fulfilling its mission.

What's Been Accomplished

Legal Assistance — Provided legal counsel and advice to conference, church and school leadership.

Estate Planning — Prepared documents and provided counsel to conference trust departments and church members where such service is requested and ethically permissible.

Trust Services — The most common form of support is found in legal guidance to support conferences as they work directly with members in an estate planning process.

Legal Assistance — Helped conferences and churches find the balance between legal protection and pastoral concerns.

The Challenges Ahead

Refine Attorney Roles — As church estate planning activities grow, we will assist conferences in locating and using independent attorneys to join with conference trust departments in providing quality estate planning to the client.

Refocus Our Role — Once an adequate group of qualified, independent attorneys is in place, we wish to focus our work on providing legal advice to the church in areas of church and school law. This will permit us to provide the essential time needed in areas of corporate, property, employment and transactional law that directly affect the organization.

September 01, 2011 / Feature