Estate Gifts & Public PolicyA recent decision from New Brunswick has highlighted the court’s ability to void an estate gift for public policy reasons. In McCorkill v. Streed, Executor of the Estate of Harry Robery McCorkill, the Court dealt with a will that had a gift to an organization that the court found stood for principles and policies that were illegal and contrary to public policy in Canada. In making its determination the Court heard from a number of groups that sought intervenor status.

The Court reviewed documents outlining the ideology of the group to whom the gift was made, which included literature encouraging parents to prevent interracial dating and other literature, including what the Court characterized as an “anti-Semitic rant”. Although these cases are not prevalent, they highlight the ability of the Courts to intervene to determine the appropriateness of a gift made in an estate matter.