Tag: Charitable Bequests
This week on Hull on Estates, Paul Trudelle and Josh Eisen discuss a private member’s bill that was recently voted down. Before its demise, Bill 120 had proposed a number of interesting changes to probate fees in Ontario, including a maximum fee and deductions for charitable bequests.
Ellen Roseman, “Ontario’s Estate Tax Highest In Canada: Roseman” Toronto Star (6 October 2015)
Bill 120, An Act to amend the Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998, 1st Sess., 41st Leg., Ontario, 2015 (as voted down by the House of Commons 24 September 2015).
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Click here for more information on Josh Eisen.
The Smithsonian in Washington DC is the largest museum in the world and houses the legacy of an entire country. A little known fact is that this American national treasure is owed to a legacy of a different kind, a single charitable bequest by a man who had never even visited the United States.
British Scientist James Lewis Smithson, in a Will drawn three years before his death in Genoa Italy in 1829, bequeathed a life interest in his estate to his only living heir, his nephew Henry James Hungerford and thereafter to Hungerford’s heirs. In a charitable giftover, if Hungerford died without heirs, the estate was to go to the United States of America. When Hungerford died unmarried and without children just 6 years later, Richard Rush as agent for President Andrew Jackson claimed the money, which was awarded to the United States by the English Court of Chancery. The estate was worth half a million dollars in English Gold Sovereigns at the time, about $8M today.
It remains a mystery to this day, why Smithson left his fortune to a country with which he had no social or political ties. If you would like to read more about Smithson click here. If you would like to hear more about Smithson, click here.
The Will stated that the estate was to go to the "United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men." And the rest, as they say, is history – literally and figuratively!
Sharon Davis – Click here for more information on Sharon Davis.