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Charitable Contributions - Part 2

• Can a donor revoke a contribution to a church on the basis of "undue influence"? Yes, concluded a federal appeals court. An heiress to a large family fortune began attending a church in Massachusetts. Over the next few years, she became intimately involved with the church and many of its related ministries, and made three large contributions to the church. The first contribution (stock in the family business worth $1 million) was made because of her belief that the gift would "cure" the severe headaches experienced by the pastor's wife. After making the gift, the pastor allegedly informed the donor that his wife had been "cured" when in fact she continued to suffer from migraine headaches. Because of this event, the donor came to believe that large gifts could "affect events on earth." Later, when advised by church officials that a particular missionary was being kept a prisoner in ...

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  • November 1, 1989

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