in terrorem clause

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An in terrorem clause is a clause in a will which asserts that if a devisee challenges the will, the devisee will not receive her devise. In effect, the in terrorem clause creates a conditional devise, given only if the will is not challenged. Often the purpose of the in terrorem clause is to stop any potential contestants of the will by offering them payment in the form of a devise. In many states this type of clause is not enforceable if there is probable cause to challenge the will.