My colleagues have written on the enforceability of in terrorem clauses, and the courts continue to confront challenges in reconciling the testator’s intent to impose an in terrorem condition with the rights of beneficiaries to challenge the conduct of their fiduciary. The New York County Surrogate’s Court’s recent decision in Matter of Merenstein provides further

The fiduciary who thinks a receipt and release is the answer to all future claims for an accounting and liability may have a surprise in store. Over the past several months, Surrogates have explored the issue of receipts and releases, and have provided insight into just how far they will go to “save the day.” The New York County Surrogate’s Court’s recent decision in Matter of Ingraham is a case in point. Ilene Cooper discusses the decision in our latest post.
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In Matter of Conklin, 2015 NY Slip Op 25094 (Sur Ct, Nassau County 2015), the Nassau County Surrogate’s Court addressed, among other things, whether specifically bequeathed property sold by an attorney-in-fact prior to the decedent’s death, adeemed. The decedent’s will had specifically devised the subject property to his two children and first wife, with a direction that it be sold after his death and the proceeds divided among the three of them. But a sale prior to death meant that the proceeds would become part of the decedent’s residuary estate, of which one of his attorneys-in-fact was the sole beneficiary. Jaclene D’Agostino discusses the case in our latest entry.
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As I wrote in a prior post, dated February 25, 2011, concerning the Estate of Dianne Edwards, the “slayer rule” articulated by the Court of Appeals in Riggs v. Palmer provides that “[n]o one shall be permitted to profit by his own fraud, or to take advantage of his own wrong, or to found