How would one go about directing disposal of an estate valued at over a million dollars? Here, condensed and stripped of legal phrases, is how one man did it
1. Funeral, testamentary, and other debts and expenses, including succession duties, to be paid.
2. All household furniture, pictures, china, papers, photographs, and other articles of a purely personal character in and about house to be delivered to my wife, Mrs. J. E. Nicholson, immediately.
3. All books to Mrs. Nicholson for her life, but after her death as follows:
(a) Complete set of “Punch” to the University of Toronto.
(b) All volumes of “England Place-Name Society’, to Reverend Ramsay Armitage, Principal of Wycliffe College.
(c) All other books which at my wife’s death are in my library to Wycliffe College.
4. All insurance moneys payable to Mrs Nicholson for her sole use and benefit.
5. All other property to Trustees upon following trusts:
(a) Here Mr. Nicholson listed bequests ranging from $250 to $10,000 to 14 relatives, friends, and employees past and present.
(b) One hundred pounds sterling in trust to wardens of the Church of Out Rawcliffe, Preston, Lancashire, England, income to be used to preserve grave of my mother, with instructions re use of surplus.
(c) One hundred pounds sterling to wardens of the Parish Church of Walton-on-the-Hill, Liverpool, England, income to be used to preserve grave of my father, with instructions re use of surplus.
(d) During my wife’s life to keep invested the residue of my estate from which shall be paid to my wife during her life the monthly sum of-[here Mr. Nicholson named an amount which would permit his wife to maintain the standard of living she enjoyed at the time of his death].
(e) After my wife’s death, I direct that so much of the capital as then re-mains, together with any income accumulated, accrued or accruing, shall be disposed of in the following manner:
First: To pay to the National Debt Redemption Fund in the United Kingdom the sum of 10,000 pounds sterling.
Second: To hold in trust $10,000 income thereof to be paid to wardens of St. Paul’s Church, Toronto, provided that if an endowment fund (which added to this sum of $10,000) shall be not less than $150,000 is not within two years after my death established to the satisfaction of my trustees, the sum of $10,000 mentioned in this clause shall be added to the residue of my estate.
Third: $5,000 to the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada.
Fourth: $10,000 to Wycliffe College ( trust fund for purchase of books).
Fifth: $5,000 to St. George’s Society ( capital to be invested).
Sixth: $10,000 to City of Toronto ( to purchase seats and benches for parks).
Seventh: $10,000 to Sick Children’s Hospital, Toronto.
Eighth: $5,000 to Superannuation Fund of Church of England in the Diocese of Toronto.
Ninth: Five shares of Imperial Life Insurance Company stock to Granite Club ( to be invested for purpose of providing prizes).
Tenth: $5,000 to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Incurables, Toronto.
Eleventh: As to any portion of the residue of my estate not required for payment of the gifts aforesaid, I desire that after the death of my wife the same shall be paid to the proper authorities of the University of Toronto, and I desire that the capital shall remain in their hands and from the income as it may be accumulated or added to by other funds from other sources, such income shall be employed for the purpose of undertaking a work similar in principle and scope to the Dictionary of National Biography published in England, but devoted to the biographies of persons who were either born in Canada or subsequently resided therein. Without desiring to. limit too rigidly the discretion of those who may be responsible for the publication of this work I suggest the following main principles:
(a) The production of a complete Dictionary of National Biography which should supply full, accurate and concise biographies of all noteworthy inhabitants of the Dominion of Canada ( exclusive of living persons), from the earliest historical period to the time of publication.
(b) That contributors shall seek information from first class authorities, including unpublished papers and records.
(c) That the biographies shall be those whose lives are noteworthy from all points of view, and that the term “National’’ shall not be held to exclude the earlier settlers in British North America·, or those born in Canada who may have gained distinction in foreign lands, nor shall it exclude persons of foreign birth who have achieved eminence in Canada.
(d) That the object shall be not only to supply an acknowledged want in Canadian literature, but that it should compete with or even surpass works of a similar character produced elsewhere.
(e) I leave it to the discretion of the authorities of the University of Toronto to appoint such Committee or such Trustees as in the opinion of the governing body of the University from time to time shall be best fitted to supervise and carry on a publication of this character.
6. I desire to say, for it may be helpful to others, and not in any spirit of self-praise, that since I left school at an early age I have considered it my duty and my privilege to set aside at least a tenth part of my income for religious, public or charitable purposes, and in this my Will I have attempted to provide that after my death a substantial portion of my estate shall be devoted to similar objects.
Dated at Toronto, December 1, 1950, and signed by James Nicholson.