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In re Neher

Court of Appeals of New York
18 N.E.2d 625 (1939)


Ella Neher’s will devised her home in Red Hook Village to the incorporated village of Red Hook for the purpose “that said property be used as a hospital to be known as ‘Herbert Neher Memorial Hospital,’” in honor of her late husband. The will appointed the trustees of Red Hook Village (Trustees) (plaintiffs) to serve on the managing board of the hospital “for the benefit of the people of Red Hook.” The Trustees initially accepted the devise according to the terms of Neher’s will, but later petitioned the Surrogate’s Court because it lacked the resources to establish a hospital on the devised property and because another hospital was already serving the needs of the Red Hood community. The Trustees requested in the alternative that the relevant provision of Neher’s will be reformed to allow the Trustees to use the devised property to “erect and maintain thereon a building for the administration purposes of said Village to be known and designated as the Herbert Neher Memorial Hall.” The Surrogate Court denied the petition, holding that use of the property for administrative purposes would violate Neher’s intent that the devised property be used to operate a hospital. The Appellate Division affirmed and the Court of Appeals of New York granted the Trustees leave to appeal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Loughran, J.)

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