Charitable Trusts

The arrangement by which real or personal property given by one person is held by another to be used for the benefit of a class or the general public.

The law favors charitable trusts, sometimes called public trusts, by according them certain privileges, such as an advantageous tax status. Before a court will enforce a charitable trust, however, it must examine the charity and evaluate its social benefits. The court cannot rely on the view of the settlor, the one who establishes the trust, that the trust is charitable.

In order to be valid, a charitable trust must fulfill certain requirements. The settlor must intend to create this type of trust. There must be a trustee to administer the trust, which must consist of some residence or trust property. The charitable purpose must be expressly designated. A definite class of persons comprised of indefinite beneficiaries within it must actually receive the benefit. The requirements of intention, the trustee, and the residence are the same in a charitable trust as they are in any other trust.

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