Creating estate planning documents and strategies makes things easier for the people appointed to handle your affairs and reduces the possibility of conflict in the future. However, some beneficiaries still retain the right to contest estate planning documents when they have legal grounds to show that these documents may have been procured by fraud or are otherwise invalid to begin with.
One way you may wish to reduce the possibility of someone contesting your will in the future is using what is known as a no contest clause. A no contest clause is designed to prevent people from challenging your will after you pass away. You may be concerned about someone coming forward angry that your estate plan doesn’t look like what you expected.
Typically, this clause says that a person who attacks a trust or a will, whether indirectly or directly, will lose anything they would have been entitled to under the terms of the document. With so much at stake in the transfer of assets, a loved one who may have thought about contesting a will might decide that it’s not worth the possibility of losing everything they were eligible to receive under the existing estate plan.
This leaves someone who is interested in potentially challenging a will with two options: accepting the terms of the will and their inheritance or potentially losing what they would have inherited otherwise. You should always discuss the inclusion of a no contest clause with an attorney who is familiar with the estate planning process.
Our Pasadena, California estate planning attorneys work with individuals, families, and business owners to help craft customized estate plans.