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State supreme court says donors can't hide money

Tue, 25 Sep 2012 05:42:53 CDT
By: IPR's Brian Mackey

     The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled in a case of a man who agreed to donate a substantial amount of money to a charity, but changed his mind right before he died. You might call it a problem for the "one percent."In 1995 Robert Sessions agreed to donate $1.5 million dollars to Rush University Medical Center to build a house for it's president. The hospital built the house and put Sessions name on it. Fast forward a decade, and Sessions is diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He's angry, and blames Rush for failing to diagnose the problem earlier. Shortly before he dies, he takes Rush out of his will. He put most of his assets in a trust his lawyers argue Rush shouldn't be able to get at. Richard Huszagh is an assistant attorney general in Illinois. The A-G's office intervened in the case because, by law, it represents all charities. When the case was argued in May, Huszagh said people should not be allowed to hide their money like Sessions did:


"They will be able to give all of their money to their heirs and relatives and none to their creditors in violation of the proposition that goes back to Blackstone and beyond, which is: you have to be just before you're generous."

Justice before generosity, it's an old concept in the law, and it means you have to pay off your debts before passing money on to relatives. The Supreme Court agreed, unanimously finding that Rush is entitled to the money.

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