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The paramount consideration in will construction proceedings is the testator's intent. In that context, while in terrorem clauses are enforceable, they are not favored and must be strictly construed.
The testator's will contained two in terrorem clauses. The day after the daughter, as executor, submitted the will for probate, the son served a notice of discovery and inspection to depose the testator's previous attorney. After the will was admitted to probate, the daughter successfully sought a declaration that the son violated the in terrorem clauses by deposing the attorney.
Did the respondent’s conduct violate the in terrorem clauses of the decedent's probated will?
The Court reversed the Appellate Division’s order. It held that Respondent beneficiary's conduct in deposing testator's former attorney regarding his preparation of prior testamentary documents for testator did not violate the in terrorem clauses of testator's probated will.