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REAL PROPERTY, TRUST, AND ESTATE LAW: Non-Charitable Purpose Trusts: Past, Present, and Future

By Richard C. Ausness

Purpose trusts are trusts that are created to carry out a particular purpose as opposed to distributing property to specified human beneficiaries. Charitable trusts are purpose trusts, even though they may benefit certain individuals, because they are intended to promote some broader public purpose such as the relief of poverty or the promotion of education or religion. However, it is now possible to create private or non-charitable purpose trusts as well. Examples include trusts for the maintenance of tombs, monuments, and gravesites; trusts for the performance of religious services; trusts for the care of animals; and trusts for “off–balance sheet” financing and other business purposes. In recent years these trusts have found increasing acceptance in the United States, largely owing to the incorporation of the purpose trust concept in the Uniform Trust Code.

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