A potential heiress would like to collect twelve million dollars, but not with that condition. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
Australian Clare Brown is entitled to a twelve-million-dollar inheritance but can’t collect it because she refuses to fulfill the requirement listed in her late father’s will, which is that she has to get a job and contribute to society. Right on, Daddy-o. But can someone control the behavior of another from beyond the grave by imposing a condition on the receipt of an inheritance?
Well, if the money is left in trust with a trustee to decide if the conditions are met, the courts generally try to honor the will-maker’s intent, unless the condition is against public policy, so courts have not enforced a provision that requires the beneficiary to get a divorce, but they have upheld conditions that someone graduates, or marries someone of the same faith. Ms. Brown has said, “Please stop with the whole ‘me getting a job.’ It’s not happening.” Which is likely what a court would say about her ever collecting the inheritance.