Validity of Charitable Bequests in California
California courts have regularly upheld the validity of charitable bequests that do not specify the charity, or even the general charitable purpose. In Estate of Quinn (1958) 156 Cal.App.2d 684, 685-686, a direction in the testatrix's will that "the residue of the estate 'go to charity,' even though without designation by the testatrix of the specific charitable purposes or objects of her bounty and without appointment or empowerment of a trustee or other person to select and designate such purposes and objects" was upheld.
In Estate of Bunn (1949) 33 Cal.2d 897, 900, the testatrix's will provided that "the residue of her estate ... should be sold and the proceeds given to a charity to be selected by her executor."
The Supreme Court determined that an intent to create a charitable trust was established. (Ibid.)
In Estate of Hurwitz (1952) 109 Cal.App.2d 302, the testator's will read, in relevant part, as follows:
" 'The entire balance of my estate I leave to charity and the recipient of this charity shall be designated by my friend Harry I. Rubin of the Associated Bond & Insurance Agency. In other words, H. I. Rubin shall pick out the charity organization that shall receive the balance of my estate after all of the above is taken care of.' " As the appellate court concluded, "that a testamentary provision such as the foregoing creates a valid charitable trust is not open to question." (Ibid.)