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Friday, March 16, 2018

Executors and charities disputing how to use $2 million donation

Frankly, a lot of estate disputes are unnecessary. If people would use their heads rather than their emotions, we could avoid a lot of the trouble surrounding estates. Here is a case in point. Robert Clark of Kingston, Ontario, died in 2016. In his will he left several million dollars to charities, including 2 million to the Canadian Cancer Foundation. One million has already been paid to them, with the rest soon to be paid.

Mr. Clark's executors, meanwhile, were moved by a video asking for donations specifically for pancreatic cancer. They asked the Cancer Foundation to apply the funds from Mr. Clark's will to that cause. However, using the funds that way is not what the will says. The Cancer Foundation has refused the idea of directing most or all of the funds to pancreatic cancer, stating that it is going to follow the wishes of the deceased to the letter.

The executors have followed the current trend of complaining publicly by taking this story to the newspaper. Click here to read a detailed article in the National Post.

The article contains quotes from the executors stating that the deceased "would have wanted" to direct his funds this way. But the fact is, he didn't. He could have put whatever he wanted in his will and he did not direct that his money go to pancreatic cancer. He stated his wishes whether his executors like it or not.

Executors do not have the right to change the deceased's will. Their job is to carry out the will to the letter. It will be a real shame if these executors persist all the way to court, where the estate funds will be wasted on legal fees rather than going to the charity.

If these executors want to benefit a specific charity or cause, let them use their own money.


  1. Re Executors

    It seems to me that some Executors believe that being a trustee allows them (gives them the right) to override the 'will' and do as 'they' see fit. Executors have been chosen to administer the 'will' not re-write it to suit their needs. What is the point of making a 'will' if Executors get to change it as they wish through the Courts? I do understand that there are 'unusual' and perhaps reasonable cases where some cases go to Court.I don't believe this is one of them. In my opinion, this is a frivolous case and is unnecessary interference by the Executors. Should the 'Court' disagree and rule against the Executors then the Executors should pay a fine for wasting every one's time and money. “There Oughta Be a Law!”

    In the end, with all this publicity, the Canadian Cancer Society might benefit, as more people become aware. Pancreatic Cancer is a tough one.

    1. I agree with your point about costs. The law is very clear that executors don't have the right to decide where estate funds go; they have to follow the will. I find the attitude of these executors really obnoxious.



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