No-Contest Clause: Don’t Let Heirs Contest Your Houston Will!

Fight over moneyA no-contest clause may be a good idea if you have a beneficiary who may be upset by the property distributed to him or her.

Consider this common estate plan predicament: you are drafting a will and know that if it is challenged by a spurned heir or for anyone for any reason, it will end up potentially ruined on the shoals of probate for all to see. What can you do?

This scenario is a all too common. Fortunately, a well-drafted will in many states can include a powerful tool such as a No-Contest Clause. Recently, ElderLawAnswers considered this approach in an “answer” titled “Using a No-Contest Clause to Prevent Heirs from Challenging a Will or Trust.

Essentially, this clause means that any heir who challenges the will in question is immediately disqualified from any inheritance from it. The clause is most effective when a would-be challenger is set to receive something under the will. Consequently, this party is forced into a cost-benefit analysis regarding his or her contemplated challenge. Like anything legal, however, the clause must be carefully conceived and deployed to work as intended.

As a rule of thumb, there are always more powerful estate planning tools available if you need them. Nevertheless, for most people planning their estates, a well-drafted will is the heart of those plans. Be sure that your will does the work it needs to do.

For additional information on estate planning and wills in Houston, please visit my website.

Reference: ElderLawAnswers (February 25, 2014) “Using a No-Contest Clause to Prevent Heirs from Challenging a Will or Trust


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