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Keeping Current—Probate

Keeping Current—Probate offers a look at selected recent cases, tax rulings and regulations, literature, and legislation. The editors of Probate & Property welcome suggestions and contributions from readers.

CASES

CHARITABLE TRUSTS: Trustee of donor’s pour-over trust has standing to sue donee. A faculty member established a lifetime trust and entered into a gift agreement with the University of Michigan containing terms for a gift to be funded at his death from the trust. After his death, the trustee, who also served as the testator’s personal representative, distributed property to the University in satisfaction of the gift, but two years later he filed suit alleging that the University had violated the gift terms. The trial court granted summary judgment for the University on the grounds that plaintiff lacked standing to exercise the settlor’s right to enforce the terms of a charitable trust. The appellate court reversed, holding that Michigan statutes gave the trustee power to enforce the terms of the trust. In addition, the court ruled that if the distribution created a charitable trust, the same result followed under the statute governing the enforcement of charitable trusts. Mich. Comp. Laws § 700.7405 (based on U.T.C. § 405) grants standing to a settlor, a named beneficiary, the Attorney General, “among others”—the trustee of a trust making a gift to charity is one of the “others.” Le Gassick, Trustee v. University of Michigan Regents, No. 344971, 2019 WL 6138539 (Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 19, 2019).

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