Understanding No Contest Clauses

Are you worried about your loved ones fighting over your assets and your estate? Depending on your family dynamics, this might be a serious concern.

A no contest clause is a provision in your trust, will, or estate plan that can specifically impose a penalty if someone attempts to challenge the validity of your document. It is very important to understand how this works because a person could potentially challenge your estate plan adding additional frustration and delays to the administration of your estate.

Many people allege that an estate plan is invalid, arguing that the person did not have the appropriate capacity, that they were influenced by another beneficiary to change it, that their documents weren’t witnessed appropriately and more. A no contest clause is used to say that someone will lose out on assets that you have gifted to them through the estate if they attempt to challenge it.

This can help to dissuade certain family members who believe they might have received less than they were entitled to. They may be concerned about losing everything that they were given in the estate plan and will therefore, avoid conflict or additional estate planning disputes. In all of these circumstances, it is beneficial to have the support of a lawyer who has helped others create and navigate updates to their estate plan.

Bear in mind that a California estate plan using only a no-contest clause might not cover all your bases when it comes to preventing probate disputes. Using a tool like a trust can add an extra layer of privacy, control, and protection for your goals. Contact our Pasadena estate planning office for a more individualized discussion around your needs.

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