When the prayers didn’t work – but Cy-Pres did
Reasons for judgement were released the week of March 10 in another case on Wills interpretation. In Baliko Estate v. Baliko, the Will maker (in a 2001 Will) left his Estate to a hospital. However, the description of the organization – a Foundation that was actually legally able to receive the bequest – was missing.
The question for the Court was whether it could infer the proper name of the organization (the Foundation) from the Will itself.
In the Will, the Will maker’s only child was disinherited. The child argued that, since the gift (as described in the Will) was to a non-existent entity, it should be disallowed and the Estate should be distributed as an intestacy – that is, as if no Will existed. That would result in the child inheriting the entire Estate.
The charitable foundation argued that the legal doctrine of Cy-Pres should apply, to allow the Court to construct a gift in its favour.
The child’s argument did not work. The Court simply applied common sense (the Court could have applied Cy-Pres but didn’t need to!), and held that the only reasonable interpretation of the Will was that the Will maker intended to benefit the hospital, and so the foundation received the gift.
I would presume that the child is eligible to launch action under the Wills Variation Act, but that issue was not part of this case.
This ad ran in the Richmond Review on March 21, 2014.