Monday, November 11, 2013

In re Neher case brief

In re Neher case brief summary
18 N.E.2d 625 (1939)

Appellant village sought review of a decree of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Second Judicial Department (New York) that affirmed a trial court's decree, which denied the village's application for a decree construing and reforming a provision of a will that left property to the village to use for a hospital and dismissed the petition. Respondent state attorney general opposed the application.


The village was bequeathed property that was to be used as a hospital for the benefit of the people of the village. The village accepted the bequest but later filed a petition for a decree construing and reforming the will provision so that the village could use the property for the village's administrative building as the village did not have the resources to establish a hospital and there was a new hospital near the village. The trial court and appellate court denied the petition.


  • On appeal, the court reversed the decrees and remitted the matter to the trial court with instructions to devise a scheme to carry out the general charitable purpose of the gift. 
  • The court held that the gift was not a gift to a particular institution, that there was no singular object of the bounty because it was to a whole community, and that there was no hint for any certain type of medical or surgical care. 
  • The court concluded that, in reading the will provision as a whole, the true construction was that the intention was to give the property for a general charitable purpose rather than a particular charitable purpose and that a grafted direction could be ignored when compliance was impracticable.

The court reversed the orders of the appellate court and the trial court and remitted the matter to the trial court for further proceedings in which the trial court was instructed to frame a scheme for carrying out the general charitable purpose of the bequest to the village.

Suggested Study Aids For Wills, Trusts & Estate Law

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