Monday, 11 April 2011

Charitable Trusts

Charitable Trusts are increasingly featured in wills prepared for clients whose immediate family are already well off or have no immediate family they would wish to benefit. Most Charities run websites giving accurate information regarding the wording of any bequest but you should still consult a lawyer to get this right. I act as the Trustee of various Charitable Trusts and recently had the great pleasure of presenting our local Chewton Football club with new tops for every team for the 2011 season, on behalf of the Frank P. Carpenter Charitable trust.

Benefitting a religion or race in your will

A case running in the Supreme Court in Queensland at the moment will decide whether, at least in that State, it is permissible to exclude a particular race or religion from a charitable bequest in your will.
Abraham Werner, who died in 1989 with no children, left some $700,000.00 to a charitable trust to educate "Non-Muslim" orphans.
After running the trust on this basis for some ten years, the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission has now become involved and maintains that "...while grants and awards may target particular communities, they are not, by law, allowed to prescribe exclusion based on race, religion or ethnicity..."
Perpetual Trustees, the Trustees of the Trust,  have only been able to distribute some $230,000.00 from the charitable trust because it is illegal in some states to advertise for applications from "Non-Muslims".
They have not been able to distribute any monies since 2005.
Great care needs to be taken in targeting any bequest in your will so as not to inadvertently infringe State or Federal anti discrimination provisions.