New York Consolidated Laws, Estates, Powers and Trusts Law - EPT § 8-1.4 Supervision of trustees for charitable purposes

(a) For the purposes of this section, “trustee” means (1) any individual, group of individuals, executor, trustee, corporation or other legal entity holding and administering property for charitable purposes, whether pursuant to any will, trust, other instrument or agreement, court appointment, or otherwise pursuant to law, over which the attorney general has enforcement or supervisory powers, (2) any non-profit corporation organized under the laws of this state for charitable purposes and (3) any non-profit foreign corporation organized for charitable purposes, doing business or holding property in this state.  Neither a foreign corporation nor a trustee acting under the will of, or an agreement executed by, a non-resident of this state shall become subject to the provisions of this section merely by reason of maintaining a bank, custody, investment or similar account in this state.

(b) The registration and reporting provisions of this section do not apply to (1) the United States, any state, territory or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or to any of their agencies or governmental subdivisions, (2) any trustee which is required by any other provision of law to render a full, complete and itemized annual financial report to the congress of the United States or to the legislature of this state, provided that such report contains the information required of trustees pursuant to this article, (3) corporations organized under the religious corporations law and other religious agencies and organizations, and charities, agencies and organizations operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, (4) educational institutions incorporated under the education law or by special act, (5) any hospital, (6) fraternal, patriotic, veterans, volunteer firefighters, volunteer ambulance workers, social, student or alumni organizations and historical societies chartered by the New York state board of regents, (7) a trust for which there is a corporate trustee acting as sole trustee or co-trustee under the terms of a will of a decedent who died domiciled in a state other than New York or a trust instrument executed by a non-resident of the state of New York, (8) any trust in which and so long as the charitable interest is deferred or contingent, (9) any person who, in his or her capacity as an officer, director or trustee of any corporation or organization mentioned in this paragraph, holds property for the religious, educational or charitable purposes of such corporation or organization so long as such corporation or organization is registered with the attorney general pursuant to this section, (10) any cemetery corporation subject to the provisions of article fifteen of the not-for-profit corporation law, (11) the state parent teachers association and any parent teachers association affiliated with an educational institution that is subject to the jurisdiction of the state education department, (12) any corporation organized under article forty-three of the insurance law.  The provisions of this subdivision shall apply only to the registration and reporting requirements of this section and shall not limit, impair, change or alter any other provision of this article, the not-for-profit corporation law or any other provision of law.

(c) The attorney general shall establish and maintain a register of all trustees containing such information as the attorney general deems appropriate, and to that end may conduct such investigations as he or she deems necessary and shall obtain from public records, court officers, taxing authorities, trustees and other sources without the payment of any fee or charge, whatever information, copies of instruments, reports and records are needed for the establishment and maintenance of the register.

(d) Every trustee shall file with the attorney general, within six months after any property held by him or her or any income therefrom is required to be applied to charitable purposes, a copy of the instrument providing for his or her title, powers and duties;  provided, however, that any trustee currently registered with the department of law pursuant to article 7-A of the executive law shall be deemed to have complied with this paragraph.  If any property held by a trustee or any income therefrom is required to be applied to charitable purposes at the time this section becomes effective, the filing shall be made within six months thereafter.

(e)(1) Whenever any trustee or other person, holding property or any income therefrom, which may be required at any time to be devoted to charitable purposes, shall file in any court in this state (A) any petition for instructions relating to the administration or use of such property or income, (B) any petition for the construction of the instrument under which such property or income is held, (C) any petition respecting the disposition or distribution of such property or income or (D) any accounting, due notice of the action or proceeding shall be served by the petitioner upon the attorney general together with a copy of any petition, accounting, will or trust instrument.

(2) Whenever any instrument of a testamentary nature which provides for a disposition for charitable purposes is the subject of (A) an application for denial of probate, (B) objections to probate or (C) an application for approval of a compromise agreement in respect of probate, due notice of the action or proceeding shall be served by the petitioner upon the attorney general together with a copy of the instrument and of any such application, objections or agreement.

(f)(1) Every trustee shall, in addition to filing copies of any instrument required under paragraph (d) of this section, file with the attorney general and all identified current charitable beneficiaries written annual financial reports, under penalties for perjury, on forms prescribed by the attorney general, setting forth information as to the nature of the assets held for charitable purposes and the administration thereof by the trustee, and shall, file with the attorney general and all identified current charitable beneficiaries a notice of the termination of the interest of any party in a trust that would cause all or part of the trust assets to be applied to charitable purposes or to have the income therefrom so applied, in accordance with rules and regulations of the attorney general.

(2) Trustees required to report to the attorney general under article 7-A of the executive law shall comply with this paragraph by filing with the attorney general in addition to any other reports required herein, copies of the financial reports required by section 172-b of the executive law unless such reports have been filed previously.

(g) Unless the filing of reports is suspended as herein provided, the first report of any trustee shall be filed no later than six months after the end of the fiscal year of the trustee during which he or she becomes subject to this section.

(h) The attorney general shall make rules and regulations necessary for the administration of this section, including rules and regulations as to the time for filing reports, the contents thereof, and any manner of executing and filing them, including but not limited to allowing or requiring any submission to the attorney general to be effected by electronic means and electronic signatures.  He or she may classify trusts, estates, corporations and other trustees as to purpose, nature of assets, duration, amount of assets, amounts to be devoted to charitable purposes, or otherwise, and may establish different rules for different classes as to time and nature of the reports required, to the ends that he or she shall receive current financial reports as to all such trusts, estates, corporations or other trustees which will enable him or her to ascertain whether they are being properly administered.  The attorney general may suspend the filing of financial reports as to a particular trustee for a reasonable, specifically designated time upon written application of the trustee, signed under penalties for perjury, and filed with the attorney general and after the attorney general has filed in the register of trustees a written statement that the interests of the beneficiaries will not be prejudiced thereby and that periodic reports during the term of such suspension are not required for proper supervision by his or her office.  The filing of the financial reports required by this section, or the exemption from such filing or the suspension therefrom, shall not have the effect of absolving trustees from any responsibility for accounting for property or income held by them for charitable purposes.  A copy of an account or other financial report filed by a trustee in any court in this state, if the account or other financial report substantially complies with the rules and regulations of the attorney general, may be filed as a financial report under this section.

(i) The attorney general may investigate transactions and relationships of trustees for the purpose of determining whether or not property held for charitable purposes has been and is being properly administered.  The attorney general, his or her assistants, deputies or such other officers as may be designated by him or her, are empowered to subpoena any trustee, agent, fiduciary, beneficiary, institution, association or corporation or other witness, examine any such witness under oath and, for this purpose, administer the necessary oaths, and require the production of any books or papers which they deem relevant to the inquiry.

(j) No person shall be excused from attending such inquiry pursuant to the mandate of a subpoena, or from producing a paper or book, or from being examined or required to answer a question on the ground of failure of tender or payment of a witness fee or mileage, unless at the time of such appearance or production, as the case may be, such witness makes a demand for such payment as a condition precedent to the offering of the testimony or production required by the subpoena and such payment is not thereupon made.  The provisions for payment of a witness fee or mileage do not apply to any trustee or other person holding funds for charitable purposes, or to any person in the employ of any such person, whose conduct or practices are being investigated.

(k) If a person subpoenaed to attend such inquiry fails to obey the mandate of a subpoena without reasonable cause, or if a person in attendance upon such inquiry shall without reasonable cause refuse to be sworn or to be examined or to answer a question or to produce a paper or book when ordered so to do by the officer conducting such inquiry, he or she shall be subject to proceedings under subdivision (b) of section 2308 of the civil practice law and rules .

(l) The register, copies of the instruments and the reports filed with the attorney general shall be open to public inspection, subject to reasonable rules and regulations adopted by the attorney general, which may include such limitations as to type of information subject to inspection or purpose of inspection as the attorney general shall deem to be in the public interest.  The attorney general shall withhold from public inspection copies of any report filed with any other governmental agency of this state or of the United States and required by law to be kept confidential by such agency, and shall, upon request of the trustee, withhold from public inspection that portion of any instrument filed which does not relate to charitable purposes and which is not otherwise of public record.

(m) The attorney general may institute appropriate proceedings to secure compliance with this section and to secure the proper administration of any trust, corporation or other relationship to which this section applies.  The powers and duties of the attorney general provided in this section are in addition to all other powers and duties he or she may have.  No court shall modify or terminate the powers and responsibilities of any trust, corporation or other trustee unless the attorney general is a party to the proceeding, but nothing in this section shall otherwise impair or restrict the jurisdiction of any court with respect to the matters covered by it.  The failure of any trustee to register or to file reports as required by this section may be ground for judicial removal of any person responsible for such failure.

(n) This section shall apply regardless of any contrary provisions of any instrument and shall be liberally construed so as to effectuate its general purpose of protecting the public interest in charitable uses, purposes and dispositions.

(o) Every officer, agency, board or commission of this state or political subdivisions of this state or agencies thereof receiving applications for exemption from taxation of any trustee subject to this section shall annually file with the attorney general a list of all applications received during the year and shall notify the attorney general of any suspension or revocation of a tax exempt status previously granted.

(p) The attorney general shall collect from each trustee at the time of filing of the periodic reports required by this section a fee for the filing of such reports as follows:

(1) Twenty-five dollars, if the net worth of the property held by such trustee for charitable purposes is less than fifty thousand dollars,

(2) Fifty dollars if such net worth is fifty thousand dollars or more but less than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars,

(3) One hundred dollars if such net worth is two hundred and fifty thousand dollars or more but less than one million dollars,

(4) Two hundred fifty dollars if such net worth is one million dollars or more but less than ten million dollars,

(5) Seven hundred and fifty dollars if such net worth is ten million dollars or more but less than fifty million dollars, and

(6) One thousand five hundred dollars if such net worth is fifty million dollars or more.

(q) Any trustee shall be exempt from the annual reporting requirements of this section by filing each year with the attorney general a verified statement executed by such trustee attesting that during the annual reporting period (1) the gross receipts received by said trustee during such annual reporting period were less than twenty-five thousand dollars and that (2) the total assets held by such trustee at no time during such annual reporting period exceeded twenty-five thousand dollars.  For the purposes of this paragraph, gross receipts mean the total received during the financial reporting period of (A) gifts, grants, and contributions;  (B) gross income and revenue from all sources;  and (C) gross amounts from sales of assets, other than inventory;  and total assets mean the total principal and the accumulated income, if any, held by such trustee for purposes of charitable distribution on any day during such annual reporting period.

(r) A trustee who fails to comply with paragraph (d), (f) or (g) of this section shall, after notice of said failure served upon him or her by the attorney general by certified mail, return receipt requested, be liable to the state of New York for a fine of ten dollars a day not to exceed one thousand dollars for each failure to comply after the expiration of the thirty day period following the receipt of the notice from the attorney general, except that the time to comply may be extended by the attorney general.  Where the attorney general, after such thirty day period has expired, finds that the failure to comply with paragraph (d), (f) or (g) of this section is due to excusable ignorance or inadvertence or other reasonable cause, the attorney general shall waive the fine imposed by this paragraph.

(s) A trustee shall not be qualified to make application for funds or grants or to receive such funds from any department or agency of the state without certifying compliance with paragraphs (d), (f) and (g) of this section and all applicable registration and reporting requirements of article seven-A of the executive law.


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