Wilson v. Flowers
New Jersey Supreme Court
277 A.2d 199 (1971)
Joseph Snyder’s will established a residuary trust. The trust required the trustees (plaintiffs) to provide 20 percent of the residue “to such philanthropic causes as my Trustees may select.” The trustees filed a petition in chancery court seeking the court’s opinion on how to construe this provision. The will’s scrivener testified that he intended philanthropic to mean charitable. The chancery court found that the provision was solely charitable, meaning that the gifts were valid and did not pass to the testator’s next of kin (defendants) by intestate succession. The testator’s next of kin appealed, arguing that Snyder’s use of the word philanthropic contemplated a group of potential recipients that was broader than merely charities as defined by tax law. The next of kin argued this because if they were correct, the gift would be void either for uncertainty or as a violation of the rule against perpetuities.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Proctor, J.)
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