Hearing Required on Enforcement of In Terrorem Clause

It was an abuse of discretion and a denial of due process to deny a hearing on whether the contestant to a will had probable cause to challenge the validity of the will when the probate appeal was dismissed on a compulsory nonsuit following the close of the contestant’s case and the proponents of the will did not have an opportunity to present evidence. The existence of the in terrorem clause was not a defense to the will contest and did not need to be included in a new matter. Including the forfeiture issue in the new matter that was filed did not require the proponents to request a bifurcation or present evidence before moving for a nonsuit.  Powell Estate, 2019 PA Super 140 (5/1/2019), vacating and remanding, 8 Fid.Rep.3d 147 (Philadelphia Co. O.C. 2018).

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