Hamilton County, Nebraska operated a nursing home facility in Aurora. This is common throughout Nebraska. The name of the facility was Hamilton Manor.
Nelda Ackerson was a lifelong resident of Hamilton County. She was grateful for the services she and her sister received at Hamilton Manor so she left it $875,000 in her will. She died in June 2017.
Hamilton Manor experienced financial difficulties and the County ended up lending it $925,500. A for-profit operator was brought in to manage the nursing home. Eventually, the for-profit company built a new nursing home and the County closed the old building in April 2018.
Mrs. Ackerson’s nephew argued that the charitable gift lapsed because the nursing home had ceased operations. The trial court agreed, but the Supreme Court reversed.
It was held that a the charitable bequest was effective as of the date of Mrs. Ackerson’s death. Since Hamilton Manor was still in business at that time, the bequest was valid. Charitable donations are considered to be favored by the law.
Charities usually have a perpetual life, but that is not always the case. I was personally surprised when Dana College in Blair closed. It is always a good idea to carefully consider what charity you are giving money to in your will.
The bottom-line here is that Hamilton County’s loan was mostly repaid by Mrs. Ackerson’s gift and that’s probably what she wanted anyway.