in terrorem

Also found in: Wikipedia.

In Terrorem

[Latin, In fright or terror; by way of a threat.] A description of a legacy or gift given by will with the condition that the donee must not challenge the validity of the will or other testament.

Conditions of such nature, labeled in terrorem clauses, are ordinarily regarded as threats, since the potential loss of the gift is thought to provoke fear or dread of litigation over the will in the recipient.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

in terrorem

‘by terror’. See PENALTY CLAUSES.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

IN TERROREM. By way of threat, terror, or warning. For example, when a legacy is given to a person upon condition not to dispute the validity or the dispositions in wills and testaments, the conditions are not in general obligatory, but only in terrorem; if, therefore, there exist probabilis causa litigandi, the non-observance of the conditions will not be a forfeiture. 2 Vern. 90; 1 Hill. Ab. 253; 3 P. Wms. 344; 1 Atk. 404. But when the acquiescence of the legatee appears to be a material ingredient in the gift, the bequest is only quousque the legatee shall refrain from disturbing the will. 2 P. Wms. 52; 2 Ventr. 352. For cases of legacies given to a wife while she shall continue unmarried, see 1 Madd. R. 590; 1 Rop. Leg. 558.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in classic literature ?
And though of all men the moody captain of the Pequod was the least given to that sort of shallowest assumption; and though the only homage he ever exacted, was implicit, instantaneous obedience; though he required no man to remove the shoes from his feet ere stepping upon the quarter-deck; and though there were times when, owing to peculiar circumstances connected with events hereafter to be detailed, he addressed them in unusual terms, whether of condescension or in terrorem, or otherwise; yet even Captain Ahab was by no means unobservant of the paramount forms and usages of the sea.
1) Include an "in terrorem" clause to prevent will contests.
However, the IRS further contended that a beneficiary would be extremely reluctant to go to court because, under the in terrorem clause in Article XXVI, the beneficiary would forfeit all of his or her rights under the trust by going to court.
A beneficiary would not suffer the adverse consequences of the in terrorem provision by submitting a claim to a beth din.
Jenner added that the penalties are intended to have an in terrorem effect.
Schauer does not address this concern, nor the similar policy concerns raised by Professor Larry Alexander in his lucid and insightful commentary.(12) Retribution aside, I agree with Schauer that there are several speech neutral justifications for hate crime laws, and his explanation of why deterrence is one of them is thought-provoking.(13) However, perhaps the most powerful and straightforward rationale for enhancement --and one which is reflected in the very name "ethnic intimidation laws"--is prevention of the in terrorem effect often caused by racial violence.
He states that I use the examples of enhanced punishment for securities fraud and violence that disrupt interstate commerce as analogies to enhanced punishment justified by the in terrorem effect of racial violence.
There is no evidence to suggest that the in terrorem effect of a no-fault penalty regime would have a positive effect on compliance.
Finally, some trust agreements have an "in terrorem" provision, which shifts the beneficial interest in the trust to another party, e.g., a marital gift trust for the donor's spouse that diverts to another beneficiary in the event of the spouse's divorce.
The procedure seems calculated to produce an in terrorem effect.
Although denying a business deduction for interest paid on tax underpayments would exact real, permanent, and deleterious cost from taxpayers, the proposal would increase government revenues in the first fiscal year primarily by virtue of its pre-effective date, in terrorem consequences and, thus, represents little more than a "quick fix" budget gimmick.