Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,300+ case briefs...

Estate of Wilson

Court of Appeals of New York
452 N.E.2d 1228 (1983)


In Matter of Wilson, 87 A.D.2d 98 (1982), Clark Wilson’s will directed his estate to be held in trust, with trust income to be provided as college scholarships to men, who were to be nominated by the local school district’s superintendent. In Matter of Johnson, Edwin Johnson’s will left his estate in trust, with trust income to be provided as college scholarships to men, who were to be selected by the school district’s board of education and the high school principal. In both cases, the school districts stopped cooperating with the trustees after complaints were made that the trust terms were discriminatory. In Matter of Wilson, the trustee (plaintiff) brought an action to determine the validity of the trust provision. The lower court found that the school superintendent's actions did not implicate the Fourteenth Amendment or violate any federal statute regarding sexual discrimination, and ordered the trustee to continue administering the trust. The Appellate Division found that administering the trust according to its stated terms was impossible, and applied the cy pres doctrine to strike the provision permitting the school superintendent to certify the names of qualified candidates for the scholarship, instead permitting the candidates to apply directly to the trustee. In Matter of Johnson, the executrix of the will, the board of education, and the U.S. Attorney General stipulated to changing the word “men” in the will to “persons.” The Attorney General brought an action to construe this portion of the will. The lower court refused to reform the trust according to the stipulation, and instead found that the testator’s intent would be better implemented by replacing the school district with a private trustee. The Appellate Division reversed, and applied the cy pres doctrine to reform the trust and eliminate the gender restriction. Both cases were consolidated on appeal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cooke, C.J.)

Concurrence (Meyer, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 370,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,300 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial