Estate Planning – Extinct Institutions and Charitable Purpose
In Hicks v Mater Misericordiae Ltd  QSC 38, the Court had to consider whether a testator’s charitable gift in her will had failed its charitable purpose because of the institution’s closure after her death.
- The testator left the residue of her estate to the ‘Medical Superintendent for the time being of the Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane for the purchase of medical equipment for the treatment of seriously ill children’
- However after the testator’s death and before the distribution of her estate, the Mater Children’s Hospital’s public hospital functions were taken over by another children’s hospital
- The court then had to consider whether the charitable purpose of this gift had failed because of the closure of the Mater Children’s hospital
- However, the court established that the evidence allowed the residue of the testator’s estate to be applied as near as possible (cy-pres) to the objects of the defunct institution