Should I Have a No-Contest Clause in My Will?
A no-contest clause should be standard in any will, BUT you need additional protections if you believe someone will contest your will. First, no-contest clauses are not always held up in court later, for a variety of legal reasons. Second, the consequence of a no-contest clause is generally that the beneficiary will no longer receive anything in the will. Sounds great, right? Well, if you leave the person nothing or $1 in your Will, then there is no reason for them not to contest the Will. For example, if the Will reads “I, Jane Doe, leave $1 to my son, Bob Doe.” “In the event that any individual challenges this Will, such beneficiary shall take nothing under it.” In that case, if Bob contests the Will and has it thrown out, he will receive ½ of Jane’s estate. If he does not, he receives $1. Bob should contest the Will if he ever wants to receive more than $1.00. Because you already have a concern about Bob, our best estimate has to be that Bob might contest the will and we should plan accordingly.
If you are concerned that a certain person might contest your will, it is important to thoroughly discuss this issue with your estate planning attorney so they can help you come up with a better plan than a no-contest clause alone. The attorney might recommend a trust or discuss other ways to prevent a will contest, tailored to your specific needs and concerns.
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