Black Bear Family Trust Document

knoll Gathering of the 1987 Trustee photo by Jeff Buchin

knoll Gathering of the 1987 Trustee photo by Jeff Buchin

DECLARATION OF

JUNE 21, 1987 BLACK BEAR FAMILY TRUST

1. Recitals of Common Understandings. In 1968 a group of people, desiring to establish a cooperative living situation in a forest setting, raised money from various sources and made a down payment on a piece of land (described below, and commonly known as Black Bear Ranch). The title, for convenience sake, and not to establish any particular ownership prerogratives, was placed in the name of one of their number–Richard Marley–who, along with others in the group, is named in this document among the settlors of this trust. Over the years many other people in addition to those who originally established Black Bear Ranch came to live on the land for various periods of time. Children were born there. These people, many feeling strong ties to the land and the people they lived with on the land, have come to form the Black Bear community. The purchase and financial maintenance of the land has always been understood to be a collective obligation which resulted in collective ownership.

2. Declaration and Acknowledgement of Trust. Settlors and beneficiaries are people who have been involved with the Black Bear community and whose continuous understanding has been and is that the property was to be managed cooperatively with mutual responsibilities and obligations toward each other and toward the land. The “settlors” in this instrument are the individuals named in Exhibit A, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference.
The above mentioned settlors declare that they have set aside all that real property situated in Siskiyou County, State of California, known as Black Bear Ranch and described as follows:

Southwest quarter of the Southeast quarter of the Southwest quarter of the Southwest quarter and the Southeast quarter of the Southwest quarter of the Southwest quarter of the Southwest quarter of Section 13, the South half of the Northeast quarter of the Northeast quarter of the Northeast quarter, the Southeast quarter of the Northeast quarter of the Northeast quarter, the Southeast quarter of the Southwest quarter of the Northeast quarter of the Northeast quarter, the West half of the Northeast quarter of the Southeast quarter of the Northeast quarter, the East half of the West half of the Southeast quarter of the Northeast quarter and the Southeast quarter of the Southeast quarter of the Northeast quarter of Section 23 and the North half of the Northwest quarter of the Northwest quarter of the Northwest quarter, the Southwest quarter of the Northwest quarter of the Northwest quarter of the Northwest quarter, the West half of the Southwest quarter of the Northwest quarter of the Northwest quarter, and the Southwest quarter of the Southwest quarter of the Northwest quarter of Section 24, in Township 39 North of Range 12 West of the Mount Diablo Meridian, California Being the Same property contained in the Patent from the United States of America to John Daggett dated January 19, 1920, recorded March 4, 1920 in Liber 14, Patents, page 344.

The settlors declare that the initial trustees of this instrument shall be Shem Korngold, Richard L. Marley, Fran Forim, Geba Greenberg, Gail Ericson and Eva Bess Pumpian-Mindlin. The trustees declare that the settlors have transferred and delivered to them, without consideration, the real property known as Black Bear Ranch described above.

3. Purpose of Trust. The purposes of this trust are: To continue Black Bear Ranch in the spirit embodied in Paragraph 1, as a vital forest community. To preserve Black Bear Ranch in ecological harmony. Black Bear Ranch is to be managed harmoniously with nature, and with a view to preserving the water, soil, wildlife, and forest resources and ecological balance as thoroughly as practicable. Toward these ends the settlors desire that the trustees and beneficiaries act as stewards of the land with the greatest sensitivity to, and nurturing of, the forest community at Black Bear Ranch. Beneficiaries may visit or reside at Black Bear Ranch at times and under rules established under this trust in accordance with the goals and purposes laid out in this instrument.

4. Trust Irrevocable. This trust is irrevocable and shall not be subject to amendment, alteration, or change by the settlors. It may be amended, altered or changed by the beneficiaries only pursuant to the procedures specified in Paragraphs 16 and 17.

5. Management of Property. The trustees are authorized to retain, purchase, or otherwise acquire unproductive real property. It is the specific intent of the settlor that the trustees shall not be required to manage the trust property so as to provide monetary income, but instead, the management goals specified in Paragraph 3 shall be followed. The trustees shall incur no liability to the beneficiaries for any failure to manage the trust property so as to produce income, provided the management goals in Paragraph 3 are being observed.

6. Authority of Trustees to Act. Any action taken by the trustees unanimously shall be binding on the trust estate and may be relied upon by third parties dealing with the trustees.

 
7. Powers of Trustees. The trustees shall have the following powers:
a. To manage, control, grant options on, repair or improve the trust property.
b. To convey, sell, exchange, partition or divide the property only in the event that the purposes of the trust cannot be fulfilled on the land.
c. To lease the trust property for any purpose, provided, however that the trustees shall not have the power to execute any lease of trust property extending beyond the term of this trust.
d. To loan or advance the trustee’s own funds to the trust for any trust purpose, with interest at current rates; to receive security for such loans in the form of a mortgage, pledge, deed of trust, or other encumbrance of any assets of the trust; and to sell property to the trust at a price not less than its fair market value as determined by an independent appraisal.

e. To borrow money and to encumber the trust property by mortgage, deed of trust, pledge, or otherwise.
f. To commence or defend such litigation with respect to the trust or any property of the trust estate as they may deem advisable, and to compromise or otherwise adjust any claims or litigation against or in favor of the trust.
g. To carry insurance, if determined by the trustees in their absolute discretion to be economically feasible, of such kinds and in such amounts as they deem advisable, to protect the trust estate and the trustees personally against any hazard.
h. To pay all taxes due on the trust property.

8. No bond or Monetary Fees Required. No bond shall be required of any person named in this instrument as trustee, or of any person appointed as successor trustee in the manner specified here, for faithful performance of his or her duties as trustee. The trustees shall not be entitled to monetary compensation.

9. Accountings. The trustees shall not be required to render any accounting pursuant to Probate Code Section 1138.1. However, a written account shall be rendered to the beneficiaries if requested by a vote pursuant to Paragraph 17. Thereafter, the trustees shall account to the adult beneficiaries and the written approval of the adult beneficiaries shall bind minor and contingent remaindermen.

10. Exculpatory provisions. No trustee acting under this instrument shall be liable to any beneficiary or to anyone claiming an interest in the property under or through a beneficiary for the trustee’s acts or failure to act, except for willful misconduct or gross negligence. No trustee shall be liable or responsible for any act, omission, or default of any other trustee. No successor trustee shall be liable for any act, omission, or default of a predecessor trustee.

11. Substitution and Replacement of Trustees. Upon the death, resignation or removal of any trustee, the beneficiaries may designate any adult as a successor trustee by vote pursuant to Paragraph 17. The beneficiaries may also remove any trustee and designate any adult as successor trustee by vote pursuant to Paragraph 17. After a vote for removal, the trustee removed shall be notified in writing delivered personally or by ordinary mail. A successor trustee designated by the beneficiaries may begin to act as trustee after depositing a written acceptance at Black Bear Ranch or mailing the same to the current address of the remaining trustees.

12. Names of Beneficiaries. The initial beneficiaries of this trust shall be the individuals named in Exhibit B, attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference. The trustees shall be entitled to rely on the addresses stated
herein unless and until they receive written notice of change of address.

13. Beneficiaries’ Interests Not Transferrable. No interest in the trust property shall be anticipated, assigned, encumbered, or subjected to creditors’ claims. Beneficial interest in the trust property is indivisible. No individual may hold more than one beneficial interest in the trust property. A single beneficial interest in the trust property may be transferred only by inheritance. Any beneficiary may make a testamentary gift of his or her entire beneficial interest in the trust property by instructing that the trustees be notified under the terms of his or her will. Such notification must include the name and current address of the new trust beneficiary, and, if a minor, the date of birth. The new beneficiary must be a single individual. In the event of the intestate death of a beneficiary, his or her oldest living child (including one who has been legally adopted) shall become a beneficiary with all rights and obligations associated with beneficial interest in the trust property as though such new beneficiary were added as described in Paragraphs 15 and 17, provided, however that such new beneficiary must notify a trustee in writing of his or her current address, and, if a minor, date of birth, within one year of his or her parent’s death. The new beneficiary shall become a beneficiary immediately upon such notification. In the event that the oldest child is already a beneficiary, the beneficial interest shall pass to the next oldest child, continuing to pass in order of seniority to all living children. In the event that a beneficiary dies intestate without living children who can accept the beneficial interest, his or her beneficial interest will cease to exist and the number of beneficiaries shall be reduced by one.

 
All testamentary transfers under this paragraph of beneficial interest in the trust property shall be restricted to spouses, children, grandchildren or siblings of beneficiaries first named in this original instrument. Children, grandchildren and siblings include those legally adopted.

14. Renunciation of Beneficial Interest.
a. Beneficiaries may renounce their interests in the trust property in two ways.
b. Any beneficiary may renounce his or her interest in the trust property by delivering a written notice to that effect to any of the trustees.
c. In the event that two consecutive votes shall have occurred during which one or more beneficiaries shall have failed to respond with any vote in person or by proxy, the trustees shall send, by certified mail, an address confirmation request to such beneficiary or beneficiaries. Should such beneficiary or beneficiaries fail to respond within one year of the date of such mailing with written notification of current address, such beneficiary or beneficiaries shall be conclusively presumed to have renounced his, her or their beneficial interest or interests under this trust.
d. After a renunciation pursuant to this paragraph, a former beneficiary shall have no further beneficial or legal interest in the trust property and shall not be entitled to vote under Paragraph 17. Any beneficiary who shall have renounced his or her interest may subsequently be appointed as an additional beneficiary pursuant to the procedures specified in paragraphs 15 and 17.

15. Additional Beneficiaries. Beneficiaries may be added in three ways.

a. The beneficiaries at any given time may appoint additional beneficiaries other than themselves, their estates, their creditors, or the creditors of their estates, by vote under the procedures of Paragraph 17. The trustees shall be notified in writing of the names and addresses of any additional beneficiaries so appointed, and, if they are minors, of their dates of birth.
b. All those people who, from the date of creation of this trust until its termination, shall have resided at Black Bear Ranch and slept no less than 270 nights in any twelve month period on the property described herein as Black Bear Ranch shall be beneficiaries of this trust, provided, however, that new beneficiaries must declare in writing to a trustee in writing under penalty of perjury that they have fulfilled the above-mentioned residency requirement, and must notify a trustee in writing of their current addresses, and, if minors, of their dates of birth, within one year of such residency.
c. Testamentary transfers under Paragraph 13.
d. Such new beneficiaries shall become beneficiaries on the date of written notification to the trustees. Thereafter, such additional beneficiaries shall have all the same rights, privileges, and duties an the beneficiaries named in Paragraph 12, including the right to vote pursuant to the procedures of Paragraph 17.

16. Amendment or Termination of Trust by Beneficiaries. This trust may be amended, altered, changed or terminated by the beneficiaries by a vote held under the procedures set out in Paragraph 17. After such a vote, the trustees shall be notified in writing of any amendment, alteration or change adopted, and shall thereafter administer the trust in accordance with the adopted amendments, alterations or changes. If the trust in terminated by a vote pursuant to Paragraph 17, the trustees, after receiving written notification, shall convey the trust assets to the beneficiaries, in fee, an tenants in common. It would be in accordance with the purpose of this instrument for the beneficiaries, according to procedures established in Paragraphs 4 and 17(e), to modify or terminate this trust in favor of an agreement by which Black Bear Ranch becomes an asset of a non-profit corporation or other entity which may better carry out the goals and purposes established in Paragraph 3 of this instrument.

17. Voting Procedures. Under this instrument the beneficiaries are entitled to vote on several kinds of decisions: requesting an accounting from the trustees under Paragraph 9, removing and replacing trustees under Paragraph 11, naming additional beneficiaries under Paragraph 15, and amending or terminating the trust under Paragraph 16.
a. Any group constituting one-tenth of the living beneficiaries 18 years of age or older may call for a vote by requesting any trustee in writing to hold an election.
b. Thereafter, the trustees shall give notice that a vote shall be held at Black Bear Ranch by posting a written notice prominently at Black Bear Ranch and mailing such notice by ordinary mail to the last known addresses of those beneficiaries 18 years of age or older not then residing at Black Bear Ranch. Such notice shall be posted and mailed no later than 90 days before a scheduled vote and shall include the current address of each of the trustees.
c. At the time mentioned in the notice, the vote shall take place. All beneficiaries 18 years of age or older shall be eligible to vote in person. Such beneficiaries may also vote by written proxy delivered or mailed to any trustee at his or her current address other than one subject to a removal vote under Paragraph 11, provided such proxy is received by the trustee not less than 30 days prior to the date fixed for the scheduled vote.
d. In order for a vote to be valid, those voting in person or by proxy must constitute at least one-fourth of the number of living beneficiaries 18 years of age or older who voted in the most recent previous vote (the first vote shall have as its quorum at least one fourth of all living adult beneficiaries), provided, however, that an election to designate a successor to a trustee who has died or resigned shall not require any specific quorum. A vote to abstain shall be deemed a vote.

e. A vote for the removal of one or more trustees, or for the naming of additional beneficiary or beneficiaries, or for requesting an accounting, or for the amendment or termination of this trust, shall succeed only by unanimous vote of those voting in person and by proxy, provided, however, that no trustee shall be entitled to vote in a Paragraph 17e election.
f. A vote for the election of a successor trustee shall be decided by simple plurality: the individual who receives the most votes shall become the successor trustee upon his or her acceptance.

18. Termination of Trust. This trust shall terminate 60 years from the date of this instrument, or at such time as there is only one remaining living beneficiary, which ever shall first occur. Upon such termination, the entire trust estate shall be conveyed to the surviving beneficiary or beneficiaries as tenants in common, free from trust.

19. Law Governing; Severability provision. This trust has been accepted by the trustees and will be administered in the State of California, and its validity, construction and all rights under it shall be governed by the laws of that state. If any provision of this instrument shall be invalid or unenforceable, the remaining provisions shall continue to be effective.

20. No-Contest Clause and Elimination of Rights Under Probate Code Section 1138-1. If any beneficiary or trustee under this trust, singly or in conjunction with any other person or persons, shall contest in any court the validity of this trust or shall seek to obtain an adjudication in
any proceeding in any court that this trust or any of its provisions are invalid or seek otherwise to nullify or set aside this trust or any of its provisions, then the right of that person to take, which is given to him or her by this trust, shall be determined as it would have been determined had the person predeceased execution of this declaration of trust without surviving issue, and such person shall no longer be a beneficiary or trustee.
The trustees are hereby authorized to defend any contest or other attack of any nature on this trust or any of its provisions.
No trustee, beneficiary, or remainderman shall have authority to petition the court under Probate Code Section 1138-1.

Executed at Black Bear Ranch, Siskiyou County, California on June 21, 1987.

TRUSTEES:

/s/ Shem Korngold
Fran Forim
Gail Ericson
Richard L. Marley
Geba Greenberg
Eva Bess Pumpian-Mindlin