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Trust administrators file lawsuit against Harvard University

Trusts are some of the most powerful instruments available to Florida residents who wish to provide for their family or a favorite charity after they are gone. A trust can go on for decades of providing for beneficiaries. In cases of charitable trusts, they may even go on indefinitely. However, to carry on as it should, a trust needs capable trust administration from someone who can protect its principal and watch out for its beneficiaries -- even when the two interests don't always align.

Recently, trust administration came up in news from one of America's most prestigious universities. The Delphic Trust, which provides for the Delphic Club, one of the so-called Final Clubs at Harvard University, filed suit against Harvard's administration and a construction company. According to the trust's complaint, the construction company damaged a drainage system on Delphic Club's building when it performed construction on an adjacent building. The trust claims that this damage caused serious water damage to the building when the drainage system failed to operate properly during a heavy rainstorm last year. The trust seeks about $300,000 in damages.

Many Florida residents use trusts as a way of providing for their families. Put simply, a trust is a way to divide the ownership of property between a trustee and one or more beneficiaries. The trustee manages the property for the benefit of the beneficiaries and has a fiduciary duty to avoid damage to the beneficiary's interests.

Trusts can be created as part of a will or during a person's life. Trusts created by a will are called testamentary trusts and those created during a person's lifetime are called living trusts or inter vivos trusts. They can be irrevocable or revocable. Each type of trust has its advantages and disadvantages, but all can be used to provide for loved ones or beloved causes.

Source: The Harvard Crimson, "Delphic Trust Files Lawsuit Against Harvard Administration," Antonio Coppola and John P. Finnegan, Oct. 28, 2013

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