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In re Neher

    Brief Fact Summary. Neher devised her property to the Village of Red Hook, in memorial of her husband, to be used as a hospital known as, “Neher Memorial Hospital.”

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. When compliance with a grafted direction of a charitable purpose is impracticable, the court may execute the gift cy pres through a scheme framed by the court for carrying out the trust’s general charitable purpose.

    Facts. Neher devised her home, “to the incorporated Village of Red Hook, as a memorial to the memory of my beloved husband, Herbert Neher, with the direction to said Village that said property be used as a hospital to be known as “Hebert Neher Memorial Hospital.” Neher appointed trustees for the trust. The trustees accepted the terms of Neher’s will. The Village of Red Hook petitioned the Surrogate’s Court to use the property as an administration building for the Village because a hospital already existed in the village that met the needs of the people of the village.

    Issue. Whether a trust that states that property to be used as a hospital for the Red Hook Village is the particular charitable purpose of the trust where the testator also states that she “directs the property to be incorporated in into the Village of Red Hook as a memorial to the memory of her beloved husband”?

    Held. No. The trust has as general charitable purpose to use the property for the Red Hook village in dedication to her husband. The later expression is a direction as to the desires or intentions of the testator as to the manner in which the general gift is to be carried into effect. Therefore the direction that the property be used for a hospital may be ignored because compliance is impracticable since another hospital exists in the area and is serving the needs of the Village. The gift may be executed cy pres by the court for carrying out the general charitable purpose.

    Discussion. The general charitable purpose was stated specifically in the trust to be for the village in her husband’s memory. The testator also described the use of the property as a hospital as a “direction.”


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