What you should know about a will’s no-contest clause

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2023 | Estate Planning

When drafting your will, you expect a smooth probate process for your loved ones. But an interested party may contest it on the grounds of undue influence, fraud or lack of testamentary capacity. Nonetheless, you can prevent this by including a no-contest clause in your will.

Here is what you should know about this matter.

What is a no-contest clause?

A no-contest clause is a provision in a will that prevents interested parties from contesting it. It provides penalties one may face for challenging it, including losing whatever inheritance they are supposed to receive. If the existing bequest is large enough, it can make an heir think twice about risking everything.

A no-contest clause can be beneficial. For starters, since it prevents contesting the will, you can be confident your loved ones may have a more manageable probate process. 

However, to enjoy the benefits of a no-contest clause, you should ensure every aspect of your will is according to your wishes. This is because, at times, a will contest may be valid – one may contest it to protect your true wishes.

If an interested party has probable cause for contesting a will, a no-contest clause may be unenforceable. The probate court understands some will contests are valid. Therefore, they don’t overlook worthy lawsuits. If this party submits adequate evidence to the court, proving the grounds of the contest, the court may act accordingly without penalizing them.

Family dynamics often complicated estate planning. It can help to get legal guidance when drafting your will to understand the moves to make to protect it from being contested.