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Religion Clause in Trust is Valid

The Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled that a clause in a trust that provided an inheritance be divided among grandchildren, but disinherited any that married outside of the Jewish faith, was enforceable.  In the suit, only 1 of the grandchildren had married a Jew, with the rest being married to Gentiles.  The disinherited grandchildren sued the trust claiming that the marriage clause was void as against public policy.  The Supreme Court of Illinois disagreed, determining instead that the restriction "does not operate prospectively to encourage the grandchildren to make certain choices regarding marriage.  It operated on the date of [the grandmother's] death to determine which, if any, of the grandchildren qualified for distribution on that date." The court was careful to make a distinction between a condition precedent clause such as this, from a clause that sought to control ongoing behavior. Those contemplating limiting heirs' inheritance as a result of their conduct, and especially conduct with broad public policy ramifications such as marriage or race, would be wise to carefully craft such clauses such that they are seen as neutral qualifiers rather than ongoing control over heirs.  The latter can put the clause in jeopardy. 

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