Cy Pres: A Promise Unfulfilled

Posted: 22 Apr 2005


The author argues for expanded use of the cy pres power to reform failing charitable organizations. The basic thesis is that once a gift has been put into the charitable realm, every effort should be made to keep it there by use of this power. Thus, the settlor of a charitable trust would keep strict "dead hand control" over the gift only until it fails and modification must be sought. While modification via cy pres should seek to stay close to settlor's initial intent, it is still society's need for the funds that ultimately guides what modification is made within that intent. Furthermore, no expression in the trust of the settlor's intent via a gift over or reverter, should block by pres application to the original charitable gift. Cy pres should "trump" these alternative intents.

Suggested Citation

Chester, Ronald, Cy Pres: A Promise Unfulfilled. Indiana Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 407, 1979. Available at SSRN:

Ronald Chester (Contact Author)

New England Law | Boston ( email )

154 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116
United States
617-422-7254 (Phone)
617-422-7453 (Fax)

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