WHAT'S A 'NO CONTEST' CLAUSE? One way to defend a claim is to let your personal representative or trustee defend your choices. A second way is to include a no-contest clause that disinherits all claimants if they lose their challenge or for even filing the challenge in the first place, explains Kiplinger’s recent article entitled, “What Do No-Contest Clauses Have to Do With Undue Influence?”
A no-contest clause can be a powerful deterrent for a beneficiary who believes they are entitled to more than the share provided, if they know that simply filing the challenge will forfeit even that share. However, it isn’t a deterrent for a relative omitted from the estate plan. Ask an experienced estate planning attorney drafting your estate plan to add these typical terms to your document:
Many no-contest clauses will treat a challenger as having predeceased you (or having predeceased you, leaving no issue), thereby passing their share according to other terms in the document. However, note that some states include a specific direction as to what happens to their forfeited share.
Not all states treat a no-contest clause the same. Some states refuse to enforce them as a matter of public policy, and some strictly construe the no-contest clause because they disfavor any forfeitures. In these states, an overly broad or vague provision may be voided.
Other considerations may weigh against enforcing a no-contest clause, and you should consider these if you want to tailor your no-contest clause or exclude it from your documents:
WHAT'S A 'NO CONTEST' CLAUSE?
Reference: Kiplinger (Sep. 1, 2023) “What Do No-Contest Clauses Have to Do With Undue Influence?”
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