Houston Estate – Case Brief Summary (Pennsylvania)

In Houston Estate (1952) 371 Pa. 396 89 A.2d 525, a testator's will provided that if his widow elected to take against his will, the couple's two sons would receive nothing. The widow did so elect, and the sons contested the provision in their father's will as void as against public policy. (Ibid.)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected their arguments, holding:

"If a testator may disinherit his children, he may also condition their legacies so that the happening of a certain event will result in their disinheritance. Here, it is true, the widow was faced with the unfortunate choice of receiving a small legacy or causing the children to lose their bequests, but that, once again, is a question of the wisdom of the testator and not public policy." (Ibid.)