One of the trusts created by retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu was quietly dissolved earlier this year in the wake of a family feud.
Desmond Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end racism and corruption in South Africa. He is generally regarded as an international moral authority.
Unfortunately, his family life has been anything but peaceful.
Previously, Tutu filed criminal charges against his granddaughter for allegedly smashing up property in his home. Now, one of his trusts has been dissolved.
Some board members claim the trust was dissolved to spare Tutu embarrassment over his daughter Mpho Tutu’s attempt to “hijack” the trust. She claims that the trust was attempting to raise money for a peace center and that proved impossible, so the trust was dissolved amicably.
The Telegraph reported the family squabble in an article titled “Desmond Tutu’s daughter ‘tried to hijack one of his trusts’.”
There are two lessons to be learned from this story. First, no matter the reputation of someone creating a trust or an estate plan, there is no guarantee that heirs will behave in the same way. Second, a trust should be drafted so if there are problems and board members cannot get along, the trust can be dissolved or board members can be replaced. This appears to have been the case with this trust.
It is important to make sure that a trust has contingency options for these types of situations.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you anticipate such potential issues.
Reference: The Telegraph (May 31, 2015) “Desmond Tutu’s daughter ‘tried to hijack one of his trusts’.”
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