Praps you’d better think carefully when you make a bequest for you money to be used as you wish for some worthy cause when you’re gone. Or double check the wording of your will. Seems like it could be a piece of cake to overturn your wishes on how your money is spent.
From the NZ Herald
A keen fisherman left $500,000 to Fish & Game in his will for restocking rivers with salmon – but they ignored his wishes and used it for, among other things, fixing their head office.
A Fish & Game regional council took legal advice to ignore the last wishes of the keen angler, a leaked report shows.
An investigation into North Canterbury Fish & Game Council was launched earlier this year after five of its own councillors raised financial and transparency concerns and questioned how a generous bequest was being spent.
A draft review of the audit’s findings, leaked to the Herald on Sunday, also calls for the appointment of an independent chair to guide the troubled council through its difficulties.
The report reveals that passionate Christchurch fisherman James Walter McIntyre left more than $500,000 to North Canterbury Fish & Game in his will.
The conditions of the bequest, seen by the Herald on Sunday, stated: “I gift – my residuary estate to Fish & Game NZ North Canterbury. Without imposing any trust, I request that a member of the NZ Salmon Angler’s Association be present when Fish & Game NZ make any decision on using the benefit received under this will and that the benefit received be used to restock the Waimakariri and Rakaia rivers with salmon.”
On March 7, 2017, the North Canterbury group received $500,000 and, on June 26, the “balance of the bequest”, a further $23,935.24.
After taking “high-level legal advice” in August last year, North Canterbury Fish & Game Council chairman Trevor Isitt advised that they were “not bound by the estate wishes”, the draft audit report states.
In March this year, $49,500 was used for improvements to the regional council’s Johns Rd head office in Christchurch.
The following month, interest on the money totalling $16,875 in two payments, was made to the Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust – a separate entity with independent trustees but which receives funding from North Canterbury Fish & Game.