Legal Definition and Related Resources of Cy-prés

Meaning of Cy-prés

As nearly as can be; near to it. A rule of construction relating to testamentary instruments. The doctrine is, speaking broadly, one which enables the court to carry out the general intention of the donor or settlor of a fund when the particular method of carrying it out, which is indicated by the instrument , fails, or the instrument fails to, or does not fully, indicate the method of fulfilling the general intention. The doctrine is based upon the principle that where a testator has two objects, one primary or general and the other secondary or particular, which are incompatible, the particular must be sacrificed in order that effect may be given to the general object , as near as may be to the testator’s intention, according to law. The most common application of this doctrine is in regard to gifts to charity. If a testator specifies an object but that object is or afterwards becomes impossible or impracticable to perform, the gift will not fail, but the property will be used for some similar purpose as much resembling the specified object as possible, providing the settlor has expressed, or the court is able to gather as it generally can from the instrument, the paramount intention of charity. The cy-prés doctrine, however, cannot be applied where the instrument involved contains a provision for a gift over upon failure of the particular purpose. See In Re Rood’s estate , 100 N. W.2d 728, 41 Mich. App. 405.

Related Entries of Cy-prés in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

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Cy-prés in Historical Law

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Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

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