Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Funny Will Clause

One of my favorite clauses, although not one I would recommend inserting in a Will now, was quoted in a 19th century Ontario case. In Woodhill v. Thomas (1889), 18 O.R. (Ch. Div.), the court considered a Will in which the deceased had provided that when the last of his four daughters died the remainder of his estate "is to be equally divided amongst my grandchildren, provided they are not lazy, spendthrifts, drunkards, worthless characters, or guilty of any act of immorality."

I would have thought that the clause would be void as being too uncertain, but the court did not comment on this, and the judge appears to have proceeded on the basis that the clause was a valid condition. The court did say that it was a condition subsequent, which means that each grandchild would be entitled to a share until it were shown that the grandchild was lazy, a drunkard, worthless character or guilty of any act of immorality.

No, I don't know how the grandchildren turned out.

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