Some individuals leave inheritance and gifts with special instructions or conditions when creating a last will and testament. And sometimes, they even try to control or influence their inheritors’ life decisions by adding a no-contest clause in their living trust or last will.
So, what is a no-contest clause, and how is it useful?
Read through this post to find out more about this all-important clause in a Living Trust.
What is a no-contest clause?
Also known as the in terrorem clause, this section can be included in a last will or a living trust for various reasons. But usually, this clause states that if a beneficiary tries to contest the trust or will in a court of law and loses, they automatically forfeit their inheritance.
While some people may use them as a means of controlling their inheritors’ lives, the primary purpose of this clause is to prevent your successors from fighting over your properties after passing away.
The reality of forfeiting the inheritances always persuades beneficiaries to accept their shares are written in your will instead of contesting for more money or assets.
Can you enforce a no-contest clause in a will?
Usually, courts can enforce no-contest clause unless the challenging inheritor has valid reasons for disputing it. These reasons may occur when inheritance conditions are not reasonable, like trying to change beneficiaries’ physical appearance.
But a valid reason, such as waiting for the beneficiary to reach 21 years old to get complete control over their inheritance, is always enforceable.
Regulations about the enforceability of the no-contest clause vary from state to state. So, it is essential to be conversant with your jurisdiction’s laws before engaging in a legal contest for more assets or money.
Remember to be keen when including a no-contest clause in your estate plan to avoid making mistakes. Suppose the crucial properties are left out or are not captured clearly in the plan. In that case, your beneficiaries can be disinherited entirely if they try correcting these errors.
Should a person include a no-contest clause in a Will?
If you have decided to include a no-contest clause in your living trust or testament, ensure you do it for all the good reasons. Do not include this clause in an attempt to control or influence an inheritor’s life’s decisions and choices.
This clause should enable a quicker and easier distribution of your assets in your absence. If executed properly, a no-contest clause can protect your family from endless court battles and make sure your wishes are honored.
A no-contest clause might be a perfect option if you have an inheritor who may not be satisfied by the assets distributed to them. However, this clause is only applicable if you want to leave a potentially discontented heir something of value or gift.
Even so, ensure to leave the beneficiary enough property or assets so that the possibility of losing them will convince them to accept your wishes as stated in your living trust or last will.
While this clause can be a good idea, there are other better ways of discouraging a trust contest. Consult your attorney to come up with better options for protecting your wishes. You may download a last will and testament Texas or Michigan or for any other state at this website.