Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ > Charitable Trust FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions



An individual wants to donate a specific item for a specific purpose to my charity. Are we allowed to accept the donation?
Generally yes, but you should be cautious in accepting any gift with restrictions. You need to be sure that the donation will be used for the donor’s specified purpose. Also, check the charity’s bylaws or governing documents to ensure it does not have a policy on donations. 

Can a nonprofit corporation's board members or general members request to see the charity's accounting records?
Yes. Ohio Revised Code Section 1702.15 states: "Each corporation shall keep correct and complete books and records of account, together with minutes of the proceedings of its incorporators, members, directors, and committees of the directors or members. Subject to limitations prescribed in the articles or the regulations upon the right of members of a corporation to examine the books and records, all books and records of a corporation, including the membership records prescribed by section 1702.13 of the Revised Code, may be examined by any member or director or the agent or attorney of either, for any reasonable and proper purpose and at any reasonable time.”

I just created a charity in Ohio. Do I need to register my charity? Do I need to file with the Ohio Secretary of State? Is there anything else I should be thinking about?
There are many factors to consider when starting an Ohio charity. Because of this, we strongly recommend that you seek the advice of private legal counsel to discuss whether you want to incorporate as a nonprofit corporation, whether you want to seek tax-exempt status with the IRS, whether or not you need to register with the Ohio Attorney General, and what other rules and regulations you should be aware of. Generally, all Ohio charities must register with the Attorney General’s Office unless they qualify for a special exemption.

In addition to seeking private legal counsel, you also may want to review the Ohio Attorney General's "Nonprofit Handbook," "Online Charitable Registration Information Sheet," and "Charitable Registration and Filing User Guide," as well as the Ohio Secretary of State’s "Your Guide to Starting a Nonprofit in Ohio.”

Is the Attorney General a necessary party to actions concerning charitable trusts?
Yes. In Ohio, the Attorney General is a necessary party to charitable trust proceedings that involve (1) actions to terminate a charitable trust or to distribute assets (including times where a charity is dissolving and the assets are being distributed by court order), (2) actions to change the purpose of the trust (including times when the court uses its cy pres or deviation authority to find a different purpose for the charitable trust or change how the trust is administered), (3) actions to determine or construe the provisions of the charitable trust, and (4) actions to determine the validity of a will that includes provisions for a charitable trust (this comes up frequently when there is a will contest where the will awards some money or assets to charity). The Attorney General must be named as a party in these instances pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 109.25.

The board of my charitable organization is changing. Do we have any reporting requirements with the Attorney General when a new board takes control?
The organization will need to report the new board members on its next annual report. Any changes to the articles of incorporation or other governing documents should be provided as soon as possible to the Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section by emailing