The Chicago Tribune reports the Supreme Court of Illinois’ unanimous decision in the Erla Feinberg case. Here is Manya A. Brachear’s and Ron Grossman’s article: Illinois Supreme Court: Wills can use religious tests.
"Although those plans might be offensive to individual family members or to outside observers, Max and Erla were free to distribute their bounty as they saw fit and to favor grandchildren of whose life choices they approved," Justice Rita Garman wrote.
Brachear and Grossman write:
"After her husband’s death, Erla Feinberg came up with a different scheme, same intent. When she died in 2003, she bequeathed $250,000 to the one grandchild who had married within the faith. Those who had not — four of five — got nothing. Michele Feinberg Trull, a disinherited granddaughter, argued that the clause, dubbed the "beneficiary restriction clause" by the court, violated public policy by offering money to practice a particular religion.
The court disagreed, pointing out that Erla Feinberg did not set up a system that encouraged heirs to divorce and remarry to claim an inheritance. "Erla did not impose a condition intended to control future decisions of their grandchildren regarding marriage or the practice of Judaism; rather, she made a bequest to reward, at the time of her death, those grandchildren whose lives most closely embraced the values she and Max cherished," Garman wrote. "
Hat tip to Hull & Hull LLP’s Toronto Estate Law Blog.
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