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