I thought that I had seen the oldest planned giving case stretching back into the 1800’s when Huguette Clark (daugher of William Andrews Clark – U.S. Senator/copper baron from late 1800s) lived in the hospital I worked for (she voluntarily lived her last 20+ years – to age 104 – at Beth Israel Medical Center in NY).
Well, Philip Henry Dorsey – an 1891 graduate of Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) – topped my oldest planned giving story by leaving a bequest that is just reaching the college now!
Here is a synopsis of the story: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/4/prweb10680290.htm
This gentleman passed away in 1945 with a provision in his estate to create a trust that would pay for “family descendants” to attend the college. My guess is that the trustee and/or family finally realized that sitting on $6 million+ (and waiting for relatives to decide to go to this particular college) didn’t make sense anymore and they worked out something with the college to take the principal, create a scholarship fund, and still somehow offer scholarships to his descendants.
What can we learn from the story, besides hoping that attorneys will guide their clients away from unusual arrangements like this? It seems to me that – and I have given this advice out to surprised colleagues and clients – any unusual, outdated trust or will provision CAN BE CHANGED! Courts love fixing these kind of things, especially if there is agreement among the parties.
The only question I have here – what took them so long to fix this one?