A testamentary trust is a great vehicle

By Sister Laura Goedken
Sr. Goedken

Father Omer Woltering died in 1990. In his will he created a testamentary trust which has for 20 years assisted in educating seminarians and deacon candidates, has promoted respect for human life and supported priests on sabbatical.
A testamentary trust is a type of trust that is put into effect when the individual dies and it is included in a person’s will. It involves appointing a trustee to look after the funds in the trust until a given point when the trust expires. This could be when a child finishes college or turns 25 years of age. In this case, the Woltering Trust ends 25 years after Father’s death. The trust document also states how the principal will be distributed when it expires. In the case of the Woltering Trust, the assets will be turned over to the Diocese of Davenport.

Fr. Woltering set up the trust with eight trustees. Often such a trust has two or three. His trustees are the bishop, the bishop’s six priest consultors and Fr. Woltering’s attorney, Deacon Bill Olson.

No creditor could invade the corpus; the assets survived the bankruptcy. Father had set up his trust limiting the use to specific purposes.  A donor’s wish must be honored. The trustees invested the principal in a sound manner. The trust document stated that all income would be distributed to the Diocese of Davenport annually and used according to Fr. Woltering’s specifications as stated above. The trustees had limited authority to invade the principal.

This kind of vehicle can be used by anyone. Any estate planning attorney is able to create such a trust. For more information, please contact Sister Laura Goedken, director of Development for the Davenport Diocese, at (563) 888-4252 or Goedken@davenportdiocese.org.


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