A Premier Legal Resource Since 1985

Don’t risk probate litigation. Use a no-contest clause

On Behalf of | May 8, 2020 | Probate Litigation

You have multiple beneficiaries, so you know that there is a risk that one of them may contest your will or decisions in your estate plan. You’ve worked hard to make sure that doesn’t happen by discussing your wishes with them, but you know that some of them aren’t happy.

Your goal is to make sure your estate plan is thorough enough to prevent anyone from contesting your will. If they do contest it, you want them to risk losing everything, if possible. You’ve worked hard to decide how to divide your assets, and you don’t want an ungrateful heir to create issues after you pass away.

In Texas, one thing you may be able to use to prevent a beneficiary from fighting to alter your will is a no-contest clause. A no-contest clause is a good idea if you know or are led to believe that at least one of your heirs will be contesting your will.

With a no-contest clause, you may create a clause where the heir risks losing what they have received by contesting your will. For example, if Heir A receives a property but wants to receive another asset that was given to Heir B, they may contest your will. With a no-contest clause, contesting the will may threaten Heir A’s right to the original property and may even dictate that those assets go to other beneficiaries or are donated to charity if Heir A’s will contest fails in court.

There are times when it makes sense for heirs and beneficiaries to contest a will. For instance, if you had a will at age 70, updated it at 75 and then updated it again at 76 after a diagnosis of dementia, one of your heirs may argue that you were not competent to make those changes. It’s important that you take steps to prevent this by making sure you get a letter from your medical provider or have multiple witnesses who can attest that you were in the right mind when you made changes to your will.

It’s horrible to think that one of your heirs wouldn’t be happy with what you decided to leave them, but it could happen. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to your attorney about the risk now, so you can work out a solution to prevent it from happening. Good planning does make a difference.