Cy-what? The cy-pres doctrine


There is a (somewhat obscure) doctrine in estates law called the cy-pres doctrine. What this does is allow a gift made to a charity that never existed, or no longer exists, to be made to either a successor charity or a similar charity, provided that the gift in the will indicated a general charitable purpose. In effect, when it comes to a charitable gift in a will, the courts are often willing to bend the rules and allow a gift to be processed. As long as it is possible to find another organization that the testator would conceivably have wanted to benefit, the cy-pres doctrine can be applied to allow the charitable purpose to continue.