In Terrorem Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of In Terrorem, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is In Terrorem?

Latin word meaning ” in fear” , “as a threat or warning”. In terrorem refers to the a clause or a statement included in a contract or a will in order to maintain the decorum of the contract and the will.

History and Meaning of In Terrorem

In terrorem is a Latin term which primarily means "in fear" or "as a warning or a threat". The term in terrorem is commonly used in the legal realm and refers to a clause or statement included in a contract or a will. The purpose of such a clause is to act as a warning or a threat to discourage anyone from taking any action that goes against the wishes outlined in the contract or the will. This clause can be included in any type of legal document, including agreements, wills, and trusts.

The inclusion of the in terrorem clause in a legal document is a way to ensure that the intentions of the drafter of that document are followed, and that any beneficiaries or parties included in the document adhere to the terms and conditions specified.

Examples of In Terrorem

  1. In a will, the in terrorem clause might specify that if any beneficiary or heir contests the will, they will be disinherited, and their share of the estate will be distributed to other beneficiaries.

  2. In a confidentiality agreement between an employer and an employee, the in terrorem clause might specify that if the employee breaks the terms of the agreement and shares confidential information, they will be subject to legal action.

  3. In a real estate contract, the in terrorem clause might specify that if the buyer fails to make payment or breaches any of the other terms outlined in the contract, they will be liable for legal fees and other damages.

Legal Terms Similar to In Terrorem

Some legal terms that are similar to in terrorem include:

  1. Liquidated damages: This is a clause included in a contract that specifies a fixed amount of damages that one party will be required to pay to the other in the event of a breach of the contract.

  2. Indemnification: This is a clause in a contract that specifies that one party will be held harmless by the other party in the event of any losses or damages incurred due to the actions of the other party.

  3. Force majeure: This is a clause in a contract that excuses performance by one or both parties in the event of certain unforeseen circumstances, such as natural disasters, strikes, or governmental actions.