In construing an in terrorem provision, or any part of a will, the paramount consideration is identifying and carrying out the testator’s intent. Although paramount, the testator’s intention will not be given effect if doing so would violate public policy. For example, an in terrorem provision that purports to prevent a beneficiary from questioning a fiduciary’s conduct is void as contrary to public policy. The recent decision of Matter of Sochurek illustrates the difficulty in reconciling the testator’s intention in respect of an in terrorem condition with the rights of beneficiaries to obtain an accounting or otherwise challenge the actions of their fiduciary. Brian Corrigan discusses the case in our latest entry.
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