An in terrorem is a Latin word meaning “in fear”. It refers to a provision within a Decedent’s Will to disinherit a beneficiary if he or she challenges the Will in any way. Instead of a beneficiary receiving what he or she may have been entitled to within the Will, the individual will receive nothing, due to challenging the Will. He or she will essentially have forfeited any inheritance they were entitled to. This provision is intended to dissuade a person from contesting a Decedent’s Will. Further, an in terrorem provision is strictly construed by the courts.
Many estate-planning mistakes involve retirement accounts. If you or a loved one has rolled over an employer sponsored 401(k) plan into an existing IRA, it is imperative that you update the beneficiary designation form that is on file. The failure to do so may result in an unintended beneficiary. Many individuals unintentionally fail to update the intended beneficiary on file in accordance with life situations such as divorce, death, or birth of a family member or another loved one.