BENEVOLENT - Black's Law Dictionary

What is BENEVOLENT? Definition of BENEVOLENT in Black's Law Dictionary - Legal dictionary - Glossary of legal terms.

Philanthropic; humane; having a desire or purpose to do good to men; intended for the conferring of benefits, rather than for gain or profit; loving others and actively desirous of their well being. In re Altman's Estate, 149 N.Y.S. 601, 605, 8.7 Misc. 255.

This word is certainly more indefinite, and of far wider range, than "charitable" or "religious ;" it would include all gifts prompted by good-will or kind feeling towards the recipient, whether an object of charity or not. The natural and usual meaning of the word would so extend it. It has no legal meaning separate from its usual meaning. "Charitable" has acquired a settled limited meaning in law, which confines it within known limits. But in all the decisions in England on the subject it has been held that a devise or bequest for benevolent objects, or in trust to give to such objects, is too indefinite, and therefore void. Suter v.Hilliard, 132 Mass. 413, 42 Am.Rep. 444;

This word, as applied to objects or purposes, may refer to those which are in their nature charitable, and may also have a broader meaning and include objects and purposes not charitable in the legal sense of that word. Acts of kindness, friendship, forethought, or good will Might properly be described as benevolent. It has therefore been held that gifts to trustees to be applied for "benevolent purposes" at their discretion, or to such benevolent purposes as they could agree upon, do not create a public charity. But where the word is used in connection with other words explanatory of its meaning, and indicating the intent of the donor to limit it to purposes strictly charitable, it has been held to be synonymous with, or equivalent to, "charitable." Suter v. Hilliard, 132 Mass. 412, 42 Am.Rep. 444;

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