Estate of Newbill – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In Estate of Newbill, 781 S.W.2d 727 (Tex. App.--Amarillo 1989, no writ), the in terrorem clause prohibited "directly or indirectly contesting or attacking this will or any of its provisions."

The will also named a beneficiary, Joe Newbill, as executor without bond and as trustee of the corpus of the estate. Id.

Another beneficiary, Bennie Newbill, filed suit challenging Joe's statutory qualification to serve as executor. Id. at 729.

The court held that Bennie's suit did not violate the in terrorem clause because:

"we do not believe such an action can be considered as an effort to vary the purpose and intent of the textatrix within the purview of the forfeiture clause we are considering. To hold otherwise would be inconsistent with the obvious intent of the law to make sure that an applicant is properly qualified to execute the fiduciary duty necessary in the administration of a decedent's estate." Id.