A no-contest clause in your will could be ineffective

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2022 | Estate Planning |

To avoid a dispute of your will, you might have thought of including a no-contest clause. Such a clause serves to discourage the beneficiaries from contesting the will since they will end up with nothing should they lose the contest.

Unfortunately, such clauses are not without problems. Here is what you need to know about the effectiveness of no-contest clauses:

Your will may still be challenged

If someone has nothing to lose, or if they are sure that their challenge will be successful, they are likely to go ahead and contest the will. Similarly, a beneficiary who has a lot to gain compared to what they may lose upon an unsuccessful contest could choose to take their chances.

It is not enforceable across all jurisdictions

No-contest clauses are only enforceable in some states. For instance, a no-contest clause is unenforceable under Florida law. It essentially means that any such provision in your will is null and void. As a result, there will be no deterrence because even if a beneficiary loses a will contest, they will not have to give up their portion of the estate.

What is the best solution?

Instead of having a no-contest clause, the ideal solution lies in making your will indisputable in the first place. It is advisable to understand the reasons why someone would challenge your will, and seal all the loopholes that would expose it to a contest.

Alternatively, you can choose other estate planning tools that give you greater control of how your estate will be dealt with after you are gone. A trust is a prime example of such a tool, and it may be worthwhile to look into how it works and whether it would help achieve your objectives.