A Legacy of Charitable Giving Fulfilled

When Heritage Trust was appointed successor trustee to settle the estate of Margaret: two years after her death, six charitable organizations whom she had selected to receive her legacy had no idea of the extent of disarray created by the prior trustees.

There was a rental home in foreclosure proceedings, with 13 months worth of uncashed rental checks; a vacant rental property; a vacant commercial space, with zero insurance and disconnected utilities; and a vacant lot with delinquent property taxes.

There were two years delinquent trust and corporate tax returns; and delinquent filings with the Secretary of State for an S Corp; over 50 paintings in storage that had not been properly catalogued and appraised; a safety deposit box containing Margaret’s jewelry, coin collection and several envelopes stuffed with cash; and, to boot: a filing cabinet and a laptop dropped with an unknown quantity of financial records.

Margaret was a single woman at the time of her passing with no children. She had appointed her neighbors - a young couple with five children - as trustees and executors to settle her estate. While they initially made efforts to wrap up her affairs, they were soon overwhelmed by their own family matters, let alone the complexity and time required to manage the estate, and ultimately neglected the daunting task.

After 2 years, the beneficiaries of Margaret's estate—a group including Taos Historic MuseumsKit Carson Home & Museum, Sangre De Cristo Lutheran Church and the Couse Foundation—hired a local attorney to help them remove the prior trustees and appoint Heritage Trust.

Within only a few months, Heritage Trust was able to right the state of affairs and begin the process of selling assets and making distributions to beneficiaries, and ultimately, developing a strategy and some creative solutions to distribute the remaining physical assets, that benefited all six non-profits fairly.

Our team proved to have the tools, talents and techniques to overcome the complexity of the situation to quickly act and provide the financial support to Margaret’s favorite charities, which was, after all, her final and generous wish.