The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Probate Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Carey, Sean


SC20701 - Salce v. Cardello (“In this certified appeal, we consider the extent to which in terrorem, or no-contest, clauses in will and trust documents are enforceable against a beneficiary who has challenged certain aspects of the performance of a fiduciary, namely, the executor of the will or the trustee of the trust. The plaintiff, John Salce, appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court’s judgment for the defendant, Joan Cardello, dismissing his probate appeal. See Salce v. Cardello, 210 Conn. App. 66, 68, 82, 269 A.3d 889 (2022). On appeal, the plaintiff principally contends that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that enforcement of the in terrorem clauses in the decedent’s will and trust agreement against the defendant would violate public policy when she challenged the executor’s refusal (1) to remove her personal bank account from the estate’s Connecticut estate and gift tax return, and (2) to deduct the outstanding mortgages from the value of the estate on the return. Consistent with this court’s venerable decisions in South Norwalk Trust Co. v. St. John, 92 Conn. 168, 101 A. 961 (1917), and Griffin v. Sturges, 131 Conn. 471, 40 A.2d 758 (1944), because the defendant’s actions were based in good faith, we conclude that enforcement of the in terrorem clauses in the present case would violate the public policy embodied by our statutes requiring probate courts to supervise fiduciaries. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)