charitable trust

Definition

Trust created for advancement of education, promotion of public health and comfort, relief of poverty, furtherance of religion, or any other purpose regarded as charitable in law. Benevolent and philanthropic purposes are not necessarily charitable unless they are solely and exclusively for the benefit of public or a class or section of it. Charitable trusts (unlike private or non-charitable trust) can have perpetual existence and are not subject to laws against perpetuity. They are wholly or partially exempt from almost all taxes. Where the purpose of a charitable trust becomes impossible or unpractical to carry out then, under the legal doctrine of cy près (French for, as near as), the trustees acting by a majority or a court may choose another charitable purpose as nearly like the original purpose as possible.

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