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A charitable trust in an estate plan can lead to disputes

Some people in Florida decide to create charitable trusts as a way to leave the fruits of their labors to organizations they support. Unfortunately, sometimes a decedent?s decision to include a charitable trust as part of his or her estate plan can lead to disputes after his or her death. When charitable disputes arise, the help of a legal professional is often required, as these disputes can be quite complex.

According to information created for an American Bar Association symposium, a charitable trust can be disputed when there are doubts about whether the beneficiary or beneficiaries are actually charities. For example, leaving scholarship funds in a trust that can only be distributed to individuals who share their last names with the decedent is not considered charitable. Similarly, one claim for a charitable deduction was denied when a decedent left funds for estate administrators to distribute to individuals who had helped the decedent during life.

In other cases, the beneficiaries themselves may decline charitable contributions if the requirements outlined in the trusts do not fit the beliefs on which those charities were founded. For example, a college turned down funds left to it for a scholarship because of the terms of the scholarship laid out by the decedent. By declining the funds, the assets in the trust became the subject of a dispute in which the decedent?s family members wanted the assets to pass according to the state?s intestacy laws. The court had to make the final decision about the distribution of the assets.

Whether you are a Florida resident who is ready to include a charitable trust in your estate plan or you are a family member who wishes to dispute the contents of a loved one?s estate plan, you may find legal guidance beneficial. An experienced attorney can ensure the legality of a charitable trust at the time of its creation. Similarly, a lawyer can represent a family member?s interests during legal proceedings.

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