Legal Memorandum: Judicial Admissions in WI

Issue: Under Wisconsin law, when does a statement made by a party constitute a judicial admission?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Judicial admission; Statement; Clear, deliberate and unequivocal
Jurisdiction: Federal, Wisconsin
Cited Cases: 156 Wis. 2d 165; 101 Wis. 2d 48; 456 N.W.2d 788; 301 N.W.2d 266
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2014

Even when strictly construing the terms employed in an in terrorem clause, it is always the court’s duty to effectuate the testator’s intent.  The roots of this principle go back more than a century.  See, e.g., Smithsonian Inst. v. Meech, 169 U.S. 398, 412-15 (1898) (holding an in terrorem clause valid because it gave effect to the testator’s clearly expressed intentions). 

In re Singer, 13 N.Y.3d 447, 892 N.Y.S.2d 836, 920 N.E.2d 943 (2009), is a leading New York case on in terrorem clauses.  The decedent in Singer had left most of his estate to his daughter, and his will included two in terrorem clauses, the first of which precluded any beneficiary who contested the will from taking under the will or the testator’s revocable living trust.  The second clause specifically forbade the decedent’s son to “contest, object to or oppose” the will or trust or to take the daughter to any religious or other court.  Despite these restrictions, the son conducted a deposition of the decedent’s former attorney, and the lower courts ruled that such conduct violated the clauses.  The New York Court of Appeals reversed, holding that although the applicable statute, in the exceptions, includes only a few specified circumstances in which it is permissible to depose persons without running afoul of the no-contest clause, other circumstances may exist such that it is permissible to depose persons outside the statutory parameters without risking forfeiture.  In the Singer case, the drafter of the […]

Subscribe to Litigation Pathfinder

To get the full-text of this Legal Memorandum ... and more!

(Month-to-month and annual subscriptions available)