Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quieting Your Heirs With a No-Contest Clause

Will The New York Times recently discussed strategies for preventing heirs from challenging a decedent's estate planning documents, focusing on a no-contest clause.

  • No-contest clauses threaten disinheritance for making an unsuccessful challenge to the estate planning documents.
  • The clause can be an effective deterrent for heirs included in the estate plan and provided with an inheritance large enough not to gamble.
  • Most states recognize no-contest clauses, but Florida prohibits them.

Alternatively, the article provides another tactic for extreme cases. "It involves setting up barriers to will contests by signing a series of documents, each only slightly different from the one it replaces, over a period of years. Those who want to contest the plan must then have each of these documents found invalid before they get to the one they want to apply."  Deborah L. Jacobs, Clauses Aimed at Keeping the Heirs Quiet, NY Times, Oct. 28, 2009. 

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink

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