A will contest is a legal challenge to the validity of a will. In some cases, a disgruntled beneficiary may challenge a will in an attempt to receive a larger share of the estate or to overturn the wishes of the deceased. One way to prevent will contests is to include a “no contest” clause in your will.
A no contest clause, also known as an in terrorem clause, is a provision in a will that disinherits a beneficiary who contests the validity of the will. This means that if a beneficiary challenges the will and loses, they will receive nothing from the estate.
Here are some tips on how to prevent will contests with a no contest clause:
- Work with an experienced estate planning attorney: An attorney can help you draft a no contest clause that is tailored to your specific needs and that complies with the laws in your state.
- Be clear and specific: The no contest clause should be clear and specific about what actions will trigger the clause. For example, it may state that any beneficiary who contests the validity of the will or challenges any provision of the will shall be disinherited.
- Be fair: The no contest clause should be fair and reasonable. It should not be so draconian that it discourages beneficiaries from raising legitimate concerns about the validity of the will.
- Consider alternative dispute resolution: If you are concerned about the possibility of a will contest, you may want to include a provision that requires beneficiaries to resolve any disputes through mediation or arbitration rather than through the courts.
- Communicate with your beneficiaries: It’s important to communicate with your beneficiaries about the reasons for including a no contest clause in your will. This can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes down the road.
In conclusion, a no contest clause can be an effective tool for preventing will contests. However, it’s important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that the clause is drafted properly and is fair to all beneficiaries. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your final wishes are carried out and that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. We have helped hundreds of people get their estate plan in order; we can help you too! Call our office at 832.408.0505 and book your Legal Strategy Session today!