What is cy pres?
Within the context of wills and estates, cy press is a doctrine that comes into play when someone’s will leaves a charitable gift, but that gift can’t be given for some reason (for example, where the charity that was to receive the gift no longer exists, where the charitable purpose is illegal or where the charitable purpose has since been accomplished). In this situation, the purpose of the cy pres doctrine is to preserve the charitable purpose of the gift, and a court will apply the doctrine by finding a similar charity or charitable purpose to give the gift to.
Within the context of trusts, cy pres is one of the two ways that a court can modify a trust (the other way being via deviation). This arises when the trust in question is a charitable trust, and the principle and execution is very similar to cy pres modification of wills.