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In re Estate of Buck
California Superior Court
No. 23259, Reprinted in 21 U.S.F. L. Rev. 691, 1986-87 (1986)
In Beryl Buck’s will, Buck created a charitable trust to be used exclusively for charitable, religious, or educational purposes in Marin County, California. At Buck’s death, the trust contained stock worth approximately $7 to $10 million. Ten years later, the stock’s worth increased dramatically, and the trust held approximately $340 million of assets to distribute. Federal law required the trust to distribute at least 5 percent of its assets each year, or approximately $17 million of the appreciated amount. However, Marin County was one of the most affluent counties in California. With such a large amount to spend, the trustees (plaintiffs) had difficulty finding suitable charitable needs and purposes within the county. The trustees petitioned the court to apply to modify the trust’s terms in order to allow the trustees to use the trust’s assets on charitable purposes in neighboring counties. Specifically, the trustees asked the court to modify the trust’s instructions under the doctrine of cy pres on the ground that the current instructions were impracticable.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)
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