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How can you prevent will contests and protect your estate?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Will contests sometimes occur when people who stand to inherit an estate, or who have been dropped from an estate plan and will, argue that they should get more than was left to them. To avoid this kind of trouble, one of the things you can do is set up a no-contest clause for your will.

While not all people feel like their families will contest their wishes, the reality is that it’s hard to know what will happen after your death. Sometimes, people grieve in ways you would not expect, such as latching on to the idea that they deserve assets you didn’t leave to them.

What is a no-contest clause?

A no-contest clause is a simple clause you can add to your will that states that anyone who contests the will may lose their inheritance. You can make it as serious or as insignificant as you want in terms of penalties, but usually, it’s wise to choose a penalty that is harsh enough that people will think twice before contesting your wishes.

What happens if you have a no-contest clause?

For example, you may set up a no-contest clause for your will stating that anyone who contests your wishes will lose everything that they stood to inherit. You can also reassign those lost assets to others who may have stood to lose everything if the person’s will contest was successful.

Keep in mind that the person may still contest the will. If it turns out that they have evidence that someone attempted to manipulate the will or that the will is not your most recent draft, then they may still win and have those assets distributed differently.

If you’re concerned about will contests, take the time to create a no-contest clause

Putting clauses in your will to protect your estate planning wishes is one thing you can do to help yourself and heirs. There may also be other methods of arranging your estate plan to make sure your heirs get what you want to leave behind for them and that others can’t take those assets away from them unexpectedly.