Jersey: In The Matter Of The Estate Of Nicholas Turquand-Young

This case involved an application by the executor of the estate of the late Nicholas Turquand-Young (the "testator") seeking a declaration from the Royal Court as to the correct interpretation of his will (the "Will").

This judgment is particularly interesting as it is the first time that the Royal Court of Jersey has been required to consider the issue of bequests being made to the same charity but under two of its former names, where it was not clear whether the testator intended the same charity to benefit twice.


The testator died on 5 September 2010, domiciled in England and Wales. A grant of probate was issued on 7 July 2011 out of the Royal Court to the Representor as one of the executors of the testator's estate.

After various pecuniary and specific legacies, the testator left the residue of his estate, being in excess of Ł9 million and almost entirely comprising Jersey movable property, to be split equally between eight named charities, two of which being 'National Society for Cancer Relief' and 'Macmillan Cancer Relief'. In fact, these were two former names of the same charity, which is now known as 'Macmillan Cancer Support' ("Macmillan").

This raised the question of whether the estate should be divided into eight equal shares, as the testator had specified, with Macmillan receiving two of the one-eighth shares, or whether it should be divided equally between the seven charities which in fact existed.

Carey Olsen, working with Paul Hewitt of Withers LLP and Mr Richard Wilson, English Counsel of 3 Stone Buildings, acted for Macmillan.

Issues and principles

It was agreed that the Will should be interpreted in accordance with English law, as the testator was domiciled in England and Wales at the time when the Will was made. 

The Court was then asked to consider the applicable principles of construction under English law. Opinions were provided by two English Chancery counsel. Whilst they agreed on the applicable principles of construction, they disagreed on their application to the facts of this case. 

The leading authority remains the English case of Perrin v Morgan [1943] AC 399, in which Lord Simon LC stated that 'A court exercising its power of construction is confined to the provisions of the will, and the available evidence of intention. It will not indulge in mere speculation as to what the testator would have provided for had he thought about it'. Lord Simon LC went on to note that such speculation comes in two forms: the court cannot rewrite a will, and it may not guess what the testator's intentions may have been. 


One possible construction is that, where a testator gives two legacies to the same person in the same amount, they are presumed to be substitutional and merely repetitious so that the legatee takes only one gift and not both. Mr O'Sullivan of Counsel, instructed by the Representor, concluded that this presumption should apply by analogy in the present case, and concluded that, in his view, the testator would not have intended to confer two gifts of a one-eighth share on the same charity. 

The Royal Court disagreed, stating that 'it is by no means clear that a testator would not wish to benefit a charity with a double share where he is under the mistaken impression that he is dealing with two different charities'

The Royal Court therefore preferred the construction contended for by Mr Richard Wilson of Counsel, instructed by Macmillan.  In summary, the Court's reasons were as follows. 

  1. 'A change of name does not affect the validity of a gift to charity'. A bequest made to a charity under its former name is still valid. 
  2. The fact that the testator referred to two different names for the same charity 'does not of itself make the two bequests meaningless'. 
  3. The Royal Court inferred that the testator did not know that the two charities which he had named were the same charity, but said that 'it was simply not possible to know what he would have done had he known of this error. It is clear from the authorities that the Court must not speculate as to what a testator would have done had he not been under a misapprehension'. 
  4. Where a testator makes a charitable gift, he intends that the relevant part of his estate should be applied towards the charitable works carried out by the chosen charity. In this case, the testator's intention was that two-eighths of his estate would be used to fund the work of charities engaged in providing relief from cancer. The Court stated that 'The fact that two-eighths of the estate will fund relief from cancer by the work of one charity rather than two is not contrary to the testator's intention. On the contrary, it would appear consistent with it. As against that, to divide the estate equally between seven charities would result in only one-seventh of the estate being applied for cancer relief rather than the two-eighths that the deceased plainly intended'. 

The Royal Court reached its conclusion without recourse to any extrinsic evidence, however it briefly considered the extrinsic evidence available in accordance with Section 21 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982. The Court noted that the only provision of section 21 which could conceivably be relevant in this case is that set out in sub-section (c), which provides that extrinsic evidence, including evidence of the testator's intention, may be admitted to assist in the interpretation of a will 'in so far as evidence, other than evidence of the testator's intention, shows that the language used in any part of it is ambiguous in the light of surrounding circumstances'

Although the Court did not consider there to be any ambiguity falling within section 21(c), it looked to the testator's previous will drafted in 2006. The residuary bequests were in similar terms, save that addresses were included for the eight named charities. Different addresses were provided for 'National Society for Cancer Relief' and 'Macmillan Cancer Relief', which confirmed the Court's inference that the testator believed them to be two different charities. Furthermore, a manuscript note prepared by the testator for the Advocate preparing the Will also confirmed this belief.


The Court held that, properly construed, the Will provided that the residuary estate should be divided into eight equal parts, two of which should pass to Macmillan, and ordered that the costs of the parties should be paid out of the residuary estate.


This is the first case of its kind to be heard in Jersey and it gives guidance as to the principles that the Royal Court will apply in construing a will, and as to how the Royal Court might interpret a testator's will, where more than one bequest has been made to the same charity under more than one of its former names. As there is no existing English authority on all fours and the Royal Court had to apply English law, this case is of wider importance. It is thought that the Royal Court of Guernsey would approach the question of construction of a Will in the same way.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.