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New Act May Require More Reporting

February 16, 2011 | Washington, D.C.

The commissioners drafting the proposed Uniform Oversight of Charitable Assets Act believe that increased land trust reporting is necessary, so that the state attorneys general have the information needed for broad and uniform oversight of land trusts and other charities. Some land trusts may be required to register in multiple states depending on activities.

The proposed Uniform Oversight of Charitable Assets Act draft proposes new reporting, notice and review requirements for land trusts to state attorney generals. View the latest draft, as of February 2011.

The final reading for this proposal is the summer of 2011 so time is short to send comments.

  1. Requires charities that file form 990 with the Internal Revenue Service to file a copy with the state attorney general, including land trusts as charities.
  2. Includes conservation easements and preservation easements as charitable assets.
  3. States broad powers of the attorney general to oversee charities to correct abuses without substituting judgment for the charity’s board or trustees, as well as protecting the donor’s “expressed intent” and holding the charity to “expressed purposes.”
  4. Requires charities to register with state attorney general and authorizes fees. Some land trusts that conduct activities in multiple states may be required to register in multiple states depending on the nature of activities.
  5. Requires advance notice to the attorney general for conservation easement amendments and any other modifications of easements or other charitable assets. Commentary on this section states that “if a charity intends to use the doctrines of cy pres or deviation, either under trust law or under UPMIFA, to modify a restriction, the charity will need court approval and notice” to the attorney general.
  6. Provides for attorney general notice of and participation in a wide range of proceedings.
  7. Affects how land trusts may have to report conservation easements on balance sheets, typically as liabilities or nominal value, but which a combination of various Uniform Acts may have the effect or requiring to be reported as assets.
  8. UPMIFA affects financial reporting. The Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA), which has replaced UMIFA in all but five states as of June 2010. The definition of charitable purposes follows that 19 of UTC § 405, Restatement (Third) of Trusts § 28 (2003), and UPMIFA § 2(1) (2006).
  9. See also Connecticut Yankee Council, Inc. v. Town of Ridgefield, 2010 Conn. Super. LEXIS 1496 (Sup. Ct. Conn., Jud. Dist. Danbury June 15, 2010)(Unpublished). The court held that UMIFA (now UPMIFA) only applies where the donor retains some interest in the gifted property.  UPMIFA, which has replaced UMIFA, contains similar language.

The drafting committee chair has asked conservationists to please send in comments and suggestions on this proposal to or you can write to the full committee at:  Please include the name of the committee (Charitable Assets) in the Subject line of your email.   

Each state has designated commissioners to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws that you can also contact. You can write to your commissioner at Please include the name of the committee (Charitable Assets) and your state in the Subject line of your email. View the state list of commissioners.

Nancy McLaughlin and Bill Weeks reviewed the interconnection of the various laws and proposals including the above and the Uniform Trust Code and common law doctrines for their Rally 2010 workshop on Administration of Charitable Assets. View links to various state versions of Uniform model laws see.

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