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The cy-pres doctrine may allow changes to your charitable trust

When you have spent your life in Massachusetts carefully managing your assets and planning for the future, you want to know that your intentions are carried out after your death. Setting up a trust to support a charity or charitable purpose should ensure that your passions continue to benefit from your donations. At Curley Law Firm LLP, we often explain how your charitable trust may fare in the years to come.

According to the National Paralegal College, if you intend for your financial support to go to a cause rather than a specific charity, it will not matter if the circumstances change. The cy-pres doctrine allows a judge to reroute the funds so that they serve the same purpose as your original designation, or as close as possible to that purpose. On the other hand, if you do name an organization or cause and make it clear that you have specific intent, changes could result in the disbursement of the assets in your trust to your successors in interest.

In addition to determining your general intent in donating the funds, the court must find that there was no way for the trust to continue contributing to the charitable purpose due to one or more of the following:

  •          The purpose of the charity is no longer legal.
  •          It is not practicable.
  •          Its goals become impossible to achieve.

A judge may not modify your charitable trust merely because of a belief that the funds would be more useful elsewhere. More information about future control over your charitable trust is available on our webpage.


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