I previously wrote here about the so-called “Jewish Clause” at the heart of an Illinois probate battle that’s received a good amount of national attention. The first time around an intermediate appellate court ruled the clause was not enforceable. In Estate of Max Feinberg, the Illinois Supreme Court has now reversed that court in a unanimous ruling upholding the clause.
In a 24-page opinion, Justice Rita Garman wrote that "Max and Erla were free to distribute their bounty as they saw fit and to favor grandchildren of whose life choices they approved" even though their decision might be "offensive" to other family members or to outsiders.
As reported by the LA Times in Jewish disinheritance upheld by Illinois high court:
Steven Resnicoff, co-director of the DePaul College of Law’s Center for Jewish Law & Judaic Studies, hailed the court decision as consistent with Illinois public policy.
"It’s not just a Jewish clause. It’s a Catholic clause. It’s a Muslim clause," Resnicoff said. "It’s not uncommon that people want to encourage children to follow in their footsteps. [The] decision emphasizes the principle that, with some exceptions, a person is free to allocate his or her assets as the person sees fit."
For those looking to dig a little deeper, Ft. Lauderdale estate planning attorney David Shulman provides an excellent in-depth analysis of the case on his blog, the South Florida Estate Planning Blog, here and here.
Special thanks to Miami estate planning attorney Lucelly Dueñas for bringing this story to my attention.