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Mercy Hospital

Gifts of Real Estate

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The Mercy & Unity Hospitals Foundation will consider gifts of real property; both improved and unimproved (e.g., detached single-family residences, condominiums, apartment buildings, rental property, commercial property, farms, acreage, etc.), including gifts subject to a retained life estate, only after a thorough review by the Foundation office.

The Foundation will work with the donor and his or her advisor in completing a Gift Acceptance Form, prior to acceptance of the gift of real estate. Prior to acceptance of real estate, the Foundation may require an initial environmental review of the property to ensure that the property has no environmental damage. In the event that the initial inspection reveals a potential problem, the Foundation shall retain a qualified inspection firm to conduct an environmental audit. The cost of the environmental audit shall generally be an expense of the donor.

Real estate gifts are complex in nature and often times there are a series of liability issues associated with acceptance, however real estate is also one of the most commonly owned assets. Sometimes a real estate gift is not appropriate because it will create a problem, or will divert the focus of the health care mission of Mercy and Unity Hospitals.

A practical review of the property begins with an analysis by the Foundation that considers a number of issues. Criteria for the Foundation’s acceptance of the property shall include:

  • Is the property useful for the purposes of either Mercy or Unity Hospital?
  • Is the property marketable?
  • Are there any restrictions, reservations, easements, or other limitations associated with the property?
  • Are there carrying costs, which may include insurance, property taxes, mortgages, or notes, etc., associated with the property?
  • Does the environmental audit reflect that the property is not damaged?

Mercy & Unity Hospitals Foundation will accept a remainder interest in a personal residence, farm, or vacation property subject to the provisions of gift acceptance guidelines above. The donor or other occupants may continue to occupy the real property for the duration of the stated life.

At the death of the donor, the Foundation may use the property or reduce it to cash. Where the Foundation receives a gift of a remainder interest, expenses for maintenance, real estate taxes, and any property indebtedness are to be paid by the donor or primary beneficiary.

The Foundation may accept oil and gas property interests, when appropriate. Prior to acceptance of an oil and gas interest the gift shall be approved by the gift acceptance committee, and if necessary, by our legal counsel. Both the donor and the Foundation should consider many issues before funding a charitable remainder trust (CRT) with real property. Questions may include:

  • Is this an annuity trust or a unitrust? If the trust is an annuity trust, the trust will have difficulty in meeting the income obligation. If the property is not sold before the first payment is due, an "in kind" distribution must be made that is equal in value to the income distribution required, which further complicates the ultimate sale of the property. The annuity trust also faces a valuation dilemma. When a property is given with a value of $1,000,000, but sold for $800,000, the trust must still distribute an annuity amount based upon the original value.
  • If the trust is a unitrust, does it have a flip provision? The ability to begin the trust as a net income unitrust, and then "flip" to a standard unitrust, provides flexibility for the sale of real estate. A unitrust provides protection for the valuation issue because if the property is sold for less than the contributed value, or property related expenses reduce its value, the annual distribution is reduced as well.
  • Is the property mortgaged? Mortgaged property must not be contributed to a CRT.
  • Is the property the donor's home? The Foundation will carefully review this provision in the event that the donor places his or her residence in a CRT. While there is no prohibition on the contribution of a residence, the donor may not continue to enjoy the use of the property after the date of contribution.

We encourage consideration of real estate gifts and the involvement of qualified legal advisors on behalf of our donors in these matters. The Foundation welcomes the opportunity to discuss the type of asset being considered, disposition plans and timing of gifts of real property.