When a donor creates a trust for the benefit of a charity, that gift may fail when the charity named in the estate-planning document no longer exists. Often times, the court will use the cy-pres doctrine to find that the donor had general charitable intent and find a similar charity to give the gift to. However, if the court finds that the person making the gift had a specific charitable intent, the gift will revert to the donor’s estate.
An estate-planning attorney will help you draft the estate planning document per your exact wishes. As such, they will ensure that a charity will receive your gift if you have a general charitable intent. On the other hand, if you indicate a desire to create a gift for a specific charitable purpose, an attorney will draft the document in such a way that guarantees that you get your gift back if your wishes are not fulfilled.
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