The Meaning of “All Remaining Cash” In a Will

Jones v BC Public Trustee (1982) 5 WWR 543, dealt with the interpretation of the words ” all remaining cash after expenses” in the deceased’s will.

The deceased left a home made will, where after several specific bequests, he provided that ” all remaining cash after expenses” was to be evenly divided between 3 named beneficiaries.

The administrator applied to the court for an interpretation of the said words “all remaining cash after expenses”

The Court noted that the testator did not have much cash and determined that the clause was a residuary disposition so that all property was to be sold, the debts paid and the balance divided.

The Court stated:

The Meaning of “All Remaining Cash”

5        The answer to the first question turns on the meaning in the context of this will of the phrase “all remaining cash after expenses” — does “cash” in this context mean only actual currency and coinage, does it mean currency, coinage and gold bars, or does it mean all that remains of the testator’s estate after all (valid) specific bequests have been made?

6        Perrin v. Morgan, [1943] A.C. 399, [1943] 1 All E.R. 187 (H.L.), probably the leading modern authority on the construction of wills, was concerned with the meaning of the word “moneys” in the phrase “all moneys of which I die possessed shall be shared by my nieces and nephews now living”. The majority in the House of Lords adopted a meamng for the word suited to its particular context, rejecting earlier authorities favouring universal application of a restricted legal meaning. The phrase was held to pass the whole personal estate.

“Cash” in the present case may bear any meaning which that word is capable of bearing in ordinary usage, the context of the will as a whole being the key to the meaning which should be applied to it in this case. 1 would note, however, that the word has been held to include moneys on deposit in a bank in Re Richardson (1930), 39 O.W.N. 208 (H.C.), and to encompass a bequest to the testator in Re Parker; Hoover v. Hoover, [1950] 2 W.W.R. 1026 (Alta. T.D.).

8        In the context of the present will, I have come to the conclusion that the meaning of the clause in question is that all property not specifically bequeathed is to be sold, that debts and estate costs are to be paid out of the money so derived, and that the balance remaining of that money should be divided among the three named beneficiaries. I say that because it does not appear that the deceased had, or expected to have, a significant amount of ordinary paper and coin currency, and the clause can most logically be explained by assuming that he believed that he would have personal property other than that specifically disposed of, and that he intended that it be converted into a cash fund from which his debts and funeral and other expenses could be paid, leaving thereafter some “cash” balance.

Trevor Todd

Trevor Todd is one of the province’s most esteemed estate litigation lawyers. He has spent more than 40 years helping the disinherited contest wills and transfers – and win. From his Kerrisdale office, which looks more like an eclectic art gallery than a lawyer’s office, Trevor empowers claimants and restores dignity to families across BC. He is a mentor to young entrepreneurs and an art buff who supports starving artists the world over. He has an eye for talent and a heart for giving back.

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