What is a “No Contest” Clause?

Your estate is your legacy. No one knows better than you how it should be divided, who should benefit and to what degree. The beneficiaries, those who stand to inherit what you leave behind, should accept your judgment, but what if they don’t? What if, after you are gone, they challenge your will (or worse, your entire Estate Plan?)

That’s where a “No Contest” Clause comes in. If someone who is named in your will (or your trust) decides to challenge the instructions laid out in that document, they can actually be disinherited if they make a contest of the contents and fail. Think of it as a way to insure that all of those set to benefit from your legacy play nice. Of course, such a clause only effects those set to inherit something in the first place, and it doesn’t protect against contests against wills and trusts made by those who are not included in the document, should they have cause to contest (such as disinherited direct descendents.) If you have cause to deny the lion’s share of your estate to a specific descendent, you might want to think about giving them enough to keep them from risking a contest of your will. Another way to carefully allocate your legacy (and who inherits how much) is with a Special Needs Trust.

However, a “No Contest” Clause is by no means a cure-all. There are countless little loopholes and mistakes that can open your will or trust up to attack. Every state has its own specific rules and statutes that must be observed, and even these are subject to change as new laws are passed and new cases are won (or lost) that force certain codes to be clarified. Making an air-tight will or trust document isn’t easy for the inexperienced or for the well-meaning first-timer. Don’t risk it when it comes to your legacy. Contact an experienced attorney who will guide you through the process of building a strong, well-armored estate plan. You owe it to yourself (and to those you love) to protect what you have and make certain that every cent goes exactly where it was meant to go.

Contact Rayo Law Offices:
Call (916) 668-9606 or (925) 825-1955 or contact Zachary Rayo online to set up an appointment for an initial “meet and greet” consultation.

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