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Settlement Agreement Results in Funding for Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Area Charities

LANSING - A settlement agreement the Michigan Department of Attorney General helped negotiate will result in more than a million dollars going to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan for distribution to local charities.

Last year, the Department's Public Administrator became aware of a 2008 special needs trust that originally provided, after the beneficiary's death, reimbursement of any Medicaid expenditures and remaining assets for the benefit of charities. A subsequent trust amendment approved by the court provided that individuals would benefit to the detriment of the charities. Charitable Trust law provides the Attorney General with the obligation to oversee charitable assets.

Therefore, the Department helped negotiate the settlement providing that the remaining funds in the Estate of Wendy M. Cope will again go to charities. In total, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan will receive $1.2 million.

About $800,000 will fund the Wendy Marie Cope Memorial Fund, an endowed fund established to provide annual donations to four identified charities that helped Wendy Marie Cope when she was alive.

The charities identified are:  

About 4.5% of the fund balance will be donated annually and if one of the identified charities is no longer operational, the annual contribution will be equally divided among the remaining charities.

The settlement's remaining $400,000 will go to the Foundation for the Wendy Marie Cope Fund, which has no annual limit on yearly donations for nonprofit organizations that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in southeast Michigan.   Ms. Cope's relatives will advise the Foundation regarding distributions of this fund.

"Thanks to the foresight and generosity of Wendy Marie Cope's family, charities that support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities will receive additional funding to further their important work," Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

A copy of the settlement agreement can be read online.