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The fate of a bequest of a small' estate, valued at about £450, to the Milford Baptist Church by Mrs. Edith Moore, who died in July, 1943, was involved in an action before Mr. Justice Cornish in the Supreme Court to-day. A son and a daughter of testatrix were represented by Mr. Thomson, the Public Trustee, as mental hospital representative, by Mr. Ryan, the sole executor of the estate (Mr. F.. W. L. Milne) by Mr. Meek, and the- Milford Baptist Church by Mr. W. W. King.

Mr. Rj-an said one of the late Mrs. Moore's sons was a mental hospital patient, and counsel submitted that the whole estate, valued at approximately £450, should be applied to the patient's maintenance. There had been no provision made by testatrix for any part of her estate to go to her children.

Mr. Thomson agreed in a measure, but thought a small amount should go to the other child. Mr. Meek left the matter entirely to the Court's discretion.

Mr. King said the church had no desire to act in any unchristian spirit, but it was the duty of counsel to assist the Court as to the legal position. He submitted that since the passing of the Social Security Act there was no liability on a parent for the maintenance of a son who was a mental patient. Further, even if the Court gave the whole of the testatrix's estate to the mental patient, the general taxpayer would not be in any way relieved.

Provisions of Act

Counsel cited the provisions of the Social Security Act to support this view, pointing out that the Act only made provision whereby a sum could be paid privately for comforts for the patient. The sum held for a mental patient was not paid into the Consolidated Fund. He suggested that the money be held in trust to provide comforts for the patient during his lifetime, and the residue, if any, revert to the church. His submissions were intended only to assist the Court, but his client had no desire to press those submissions.

Mr. Thomson said if the suggestion to hold the money in trust were considered, he would like to know if provision could be made for a special treatment whereby the pat . ent might have a prospect of recovery.

Mr. King: The church would facilitate anything of the sort.

After Mr. Ryan had put forward the Public Trustee's view that the testatrix had a moral duty to provide for her son, who if she had died, intestate would have been entitled as of right to a fourth of her estate, his Honor reserved decision, remarking that he would make no decision until he had been informed of the result of inquiries respecting the prospects of the patient's recovery under the special treatment or operation mentioned.

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Bibliographic details

CHURCH BEQUEST, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945

Word Count

CHURCH BEQUEST Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 169, 19 July 1945

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