- June 2009
- The American Recovery Act Provides $150 Billion for Health Care
- President’s Budget Includes Increases for National Service
- President Signs $5.7 Billion National Service Bill Into Law
- Nonprofit Hospitals Criticized for CEO’s Pay
- FY2010 Budget Resolution Adopted by Congress Retains Federal Estate Tax
- Senators Seek to Spur More Foundation Giving
- Senators Consider Changes to Hospitals’ Tax Status
- Pres. Obama Fires National – Service Inspector General
- Court Rules Helmsley Trustees Can Depart From Donor’s Instructions
- Bloomberg Announces Measures to Help Nonprofit Groups
- Minnesota Nonprofit Leaders Win New Law on Property-Tax Exemptions
- IRS Says Charity Web Site Crossed Line Into Prohibited Activity
- Tax Exemptions for Many Non-Profits in Jeopardy
- IRS Watches for Potential Charity Abuses in Bad Economy
- USPS Postpones Its New “Move Update” Standards
- All Pages
Page 10 of 16
Court Rules Helmsley Trustees Can Depart From Donor’s Instructions
A Judge with the Surrogate’s Court, in New York, has ruled that the trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust do not have to limit the distribution of money to charities focused on the care and welfare of dogs.
Ms. Helmsley, who died in August 2007, had directed in a mission statement she signed in March 2004, that her foundation support the care and welfare of dogs. The statement revoked a similar document she signed in 2003 that said she wanted her foundation to support not only the care of dogs, but also “medical and health-care services for indigent people, with emphasis on providing care to children.”
In November Ms. Helmsley’s estate filed an inventory of her assets with the Surrogate’s Court of the Sate of New York showing that her estate is worth an estimated $5.2-billion, meaning her foundation will likely become one of the wealthiest in the country.
The ruling is significant because it allows the foundation’s trustees to go against Ms. Helmsley’s wishes that the bulk of her estate be directed toward that purpose.
The ruling could set a precedent for charitable bequests, since it is likely to raise serious questions for many philanthropists as to how tightly trustees of their estates are legally bound to dole out bequest money to causes designated by the donor. The ruling also raises questions for charities that might have been expecting money from Ms. Helmsley’s foundation.