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Should you contest a will with a no-contest clause?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2021 | Estate Planning |

If someone you love has passed away and unexpectedly changed your inheritance or cut you out of their will, you have every right to be concerned. Those changes should have been discussed with you.

If you were expecting a different outcome and have heard that a sibling or caregiver may have manipulated your loved one, then it’s important to start looking into your options to contest the will as soon as possible. Keep in mind that some wills have no-contest clauses, though, so you will want to tread carefully if this one does.

What is a no-contest clause?

A no-contest clause is a clause added to a will that discourages contesting the will. The clause may state that anyone who contests the will loses their inheritance or will lose a portion of the inheritance if they choose to litigate.

The goal of a no-contest clause is to prevent strain between family members and friends, but these clauses can actually do harm as well. Someone with a good claim against changes to a will could end up losing everything if they can’t argue their position well.

Should you fight a no-contest clause in a will? Is it worth the risk?

If you are someone who was recently disinherited or who now has a smaller or different inheritance than you expected, you may want to fight the changes that were made to the will. If a no-contest clause is present, it is important that you work with your attorney to be positive that you have a solid case before making one. If you have nothing to lose, then contesting the will isn’t riskier than it would be if you have an inheritance but are seeking a greater portion.

Your attorney can go over the specific no-contest clause that is in the will to let you know what will happen if you lose your case. Then, based on that information, you can decide if it is worth risking what you’ve inherited, if anything. If it is, then your attorney will help you build a case to show why you should receive what you’re asking for and why the will should not stand as it is at the moment.