Cy Pres, Charitable Trusts

Cy Pres (i.e., “as near as possible”) is a legal principle used to protect and preserve charitable bequests in an estate document. Obermeyer v. Bank of America, NA, 140 S.W.3d 18, 22-23 (Mo. 2004). Generally, it reflects a judicial and policy preference to give effect wherever possible to a settlor’s or testator’s intentions regarding a charitable gift.

To apply cy pres, three requirements must be present: (1) the trust in question must be a valid charitable trust; (2) it, for any number of reasons, becomes impossible, impracticable, or illegal to carry out the specific terms of the trust; and (3) the settlor or testator must have established the trust with a general charitable intent. Id. at 24.

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