in terrorem clause
(in te-ror-em) Latin meaning "in fear." This phrase is used to describe provisions in contracts or wills meant to scare a person into complying with the terms of the agreement. For example, a will might state that an heir will forfeit an inheritance if the heir challenges the validity of the will. Of course, if the will is challenged and found to be invalid, then the clause itself is also invalid, and the heir takes whatever he or she would have inherited if there were no will. Also called a terrorem clause or a no-contest clause.
Category: Business, LLCs & Corporations → Business Accounting, Bookkeeping & Finances
Category: Business Cash Flow Problems & Bankruptcy
Category: Business, LLCs & Corporations → Business Tax & Deductions
Category: Personal Finance & Retirement → Taxes → Tax Audits
Category: Wills, Trusts & Estates → Estates, Executors & Probate Court
Category: Wills, Trusts & Estates → Wills

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


in terrorem clause
n. A provision in a contract or will that warns a beneficiary or party not to engage in certain behavior, by providing a prospective penalty for such behavior.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

in terrorem clause
[in tehr-roar-em]
n.
   from Latin for "in fear," a provision in a will which threatens that if anyone challenges the legality of the will or any part of it, then that person will be cut off or given only a dollar, instead of getting the full gift provided in the will. The clause is intended to discourage beneficiaries from causing a legal ruckus after the will writer is gone. However, if the will is challenged and found to be invalid (due to lack of mental capacity, undue influence or failure to have it properly executed), then such a clause also fails. So a prospective challenger takes his/her chances. The courts have ruled that merely putting in a claim for moneys due from the estate is not a legal challenge to the will itself and is permissible without losing the gift.
   See also: will, will contest

Law dictionary. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • in terrorem clause — /in te rawr em, rohr /, Law. a clause in a will stating that a beneficiary who contests the will shall lose his or her legacy. [ < L in terrorem into terror, i.e., by intimidation, by way of warning] * * * …   Universalium

  • in terrorem clause — /in te rawr em, rohr /, Law. a clause in a will stating that a beneficiary who contests the will shall lose his or her legacy. [ < L in terrorem into terror, i.e., by intimidation, by way of warning] …   Useful english dictionary

  • in terrorem clause — /ɪn təˈrɔrəm klɔz/ (say in tuh rawruhm klawz) noun a clause in a will which makes a gift of personal property subject to a condition. {Latin in terrorem in fear, for a threat} …   Australian English dictionary

  • in terrorem clause — A provision in a document such as a lease or will designed to frighten a beneficiary or lessee into doing or not doing something; e.g. clause in a will providing for revocation of a bequest or devise if the legatee or devisee contests the will. A …   Black's law dictionary

  • in terrorem clause — A provision in a document such as a lease or will designed to frighten a beneficiary or lessee into doing or not doing something; e.g. clause in a will providing for revocation of a bequest or devise if the legatee or devisee contests the will. A …   Black's law dictionary

  • in terrorem clause — noun A provision in a will that disinherits any beneficiary who raises a challenge against the will …   Wiktionary

  • in terrorem — /in tehrorsm/ In fright or alarm or terror. In terror or warning; by way of threat. Applied to legacies given upon condition that the recipient shall not dispute the validity or the dispositions of the will; such a condition being usually… …   Black's law dictionary

  • in terrorem — /in tehrorsm/ In fright or alarm or terror. In terror or warning; by way of threat. Applied to legacies given upon condition that the recipient shall not dispute the validity or the dispositions of the will; such a condition being usually… …   Black's law dictionary

  • terrorem clause — /təˈrɔrəm klɔz/ (say tuh rawruhm klawz) See in terrorem clause …   Australian English dictionary

  • In terrorem — In terrorem, Latin for in [order to] frighten, is a legal term used to describe a warning, usually one given in hope of compelling someone to act without resorting to a lawsuit or criminal prosecution. For example, many intellectual property… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”