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Charitable Trust

A trust that is built to hold and safeguard assets to be used for the purposes of charity is called a charitable trust. There are many reasons behind the setting up of charitable trusts. Some of them include causes such as helping to aid poverty, promoting education or religion and other activities that are believed to benefit the community. Given below are a few questions answered by the Experts on issues related to charitable trusts.

In the State of New York, can a person use their house in a charitable trust? And, if so, would they be able to avoid paying school and property taxes?

A person can place their house in the name of a charitable trust but in order for them to claim exemption from tax on the house, the property would need to be shown as being used for charitable purposes. If the person continues to use the house merely as a place of residence and it has nothing to do with serving a larger charitable cause, it would not qualify as exempt property. To qualify, the house would need to be used for a religious or charitable purpose, would need to be owned by that charitable trust and the use of the house as a residence should only be ancillary to the main use. However, it is always better to check with local legal representatives before making a decision.

What are the laws on setting up a charitable trust?

There are a few simple laws on setting up a charitable trust. First of all, a person would need to have an irrevocable trust document when setting up a charitable trust. Secondly, it is required that a charitable trust be set up for charity reasons and not for personal use. In most cases, a charitable trust is run by a bank or another financial institution although this is not always necessary.

In a charitable trust, in the event of the death of the beneficiary, what is the procedure to be followed for the trustees to distribute the funds?

In some cases, distributing the trust funds depends on the time limitations stated in the trust by the creator. If there are no set limitations, the funds can be divided after completing administrative matters. These include payments of final expenses incurred while administering the trust, tax releases and so on. While this process typically takes six months, there could be delays that occur. If this happens, beneficiaries need to be informed about the delays and the reasons behind them. A beneficiary also has the right to demand for an inventory of the trust property, all accounts with regard to trustee activity and distribution of the funds owed to them based on the terms laid out in the trust. To do this, a beneficiary can send a certified letter with the help of a lawyer to the trustees or their lawyers listing these demands. They can also threaten to take them to court if these demands are not met within a reasonable amount of time— around 30-60 days.

What kind of trust is needed to maintain property for a ministry?

This can be decided only by having a qualified lawyer examine the facts and arrive at a conclusion. A charitable trust could be a good option but this would again depend on a number of factors that the ministry would need to consider. That’s why it is best to discuss this issue face to face with a lawyer.

While the questions stated above may have clarified a few of your own doubts with regard to charitable trusts, there could be other questions you may have that pertain to your particular case. These could do with differences between charitable trusts and other trusts, steps in creating a charitable trust and so on. Put your questions to Legal Experts now to get information and insights to help you tackle your own problem smoothly and efficiently.
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