Brief Fact Summary. Action was brought by Plaintiff for a declaratory judgment and the construction of the will of his father, David Shapira, testator.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A gift conditioned upon the beneficiary marrying within a particular religious class or faith is reasonable.
Issue. Whether a condition upon inheritance, which is based on marriage, is unconstitutional, contrary to public policy, and unenforceable because of its unreasonableness?
Held. No. Upholding and enforcing the provisions of the decedent’s will conditioning the bequests to his sons upon their marrying Jewish girls does not offend the Constitution of Ohio or the United States. The conditions contained in decedent’s will are reasonable restrictions. His unmistakable testamentary plan was for his possessions to be used to encourage the preservation of the Jewish faith. The condition did not pressure plaintiff into marriage by the reward of money because the seven year time limit is a reasonable grace period, which would give plaintiff ample time for reflection and fulfillment of the condition without constraint or oppression.
Discussion. It is a fundamental rule of law in Ohio that a testator may legally disinherit his children. This seems to demonstrate that from a constitutional standpoint, a testator may restrict a child’s inheritance.