The doctrine of cy-pres permits a court to implement a testator's intent and save a gift to charity by substituting beneficiaries when the named charitable beneficiary is unable to take the gift if certain conditions are met.
A testator bequeathed the bulk of his estate to two residual beneficiaries, a charity and a college. After the college ceased operation, the college filed a petition for an order directing administration of the trust. Alleging that the testator manifested a general charitable intent, the college requested the district court to apply the cy pres doctrine as set forth in Kan. Stat. Ann. § 59-22a01. The college also requested the transfer of the testamentary trust funds to the trust. The charity argued that the testator had evidenced a specific charitable intent. The district court applied the doctrine of cy pres and held that the testator evidenced a general intent. The court of appeals affirmed, and the charity sought further review from the Supreme Court of Kansas.
Did the district court err: (1) in finding a general charitable intent in the testamentary trust and applying the cy pres doctrine codified by K.S.A. 1990 Supp. 59-22a01; and (2) in selecting the administrator of the trust?
No to both questions.
On appeal, the court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals, holding that the testator indicated a general charitable intention as argued by the trust, rather than a specific charitable intention as argued by the charity. The court further held that the lower courts properly applied the doctrine of cy pres but modified the court's order to provide a requirement that the trust administrate the fund to effect the intention of the testator.