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Does a no-contest clause have limits?

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2023 | Estate Planning

There are lots of valid reasons why you need to create a will. One of these is to minimize the risk of your loved ones fighting over your wealth when you pass on. To this end, many people include a no-contest clause in their wills.

Basically, the no-contest clause states that should any beneficiary unsuccessfully challenge your will, they will automatically forfeit any inheritance due to them. The idea is to prevent unfounded will contests that can cause more rifts and hurt your estate planning goals.

But there is more to a no-contest clause

A no-contest clause may seem like a clear and obvious way of preventing disgruntled parties from litigating your will. However, this is a bit more complicated in reality. For starters, the court will not enforce a no-contest clause that violates public policy.

Including a no-contest clause in your will can also have some unintended drawbacks. Thus, it helps to carefully weigh the implications before including it in your will. For instance, a no-contest clause can deter a beneficiary from pointing out genuine concerns about your will. Consequently, this can discourage legitimate heirs from fighting for what they are duly entitled to.

Understanding the limitations of the no-contest clause

Before including a no-contest clause in your will, you need to understand the drawbacks that come with it.

A no-contest clause only bars beneficiaries from contesting your will on grounds that they stand to lose their inheritance should they do so. Non-beneficiaries, however, have nothing to lose. As such, they can go ahead and contest your will for whatever reason.

Protecting your rights

There is no doubt that we live in a litigious society. Find out what a no-contest clause can, or cannot, do to your will.