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Is a No-Contest Clause Right For You?

 Posted on September 07, 2017 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning lawyersThere are many things to consider when you are creating your Last Will and Testament. One you may have not considered is what will happen if your will is contested. A will contest is a lawsuit that an individual files in order to invalidate a deceased person’s will. Someone might file a will contest because they don’t believe a family member’s or friend’s will accurately reflects their true final wishes. Any intestate heir or beneficiary named in the person’s will can file a will contest.

In previous blog posts, we have talked about challenging the will of a recently-deceased loved one using a will contest. Today, however, we will look at how you can help prevent your will from being challenged. There are a few things that can be done to protect your will. One of these is a provision included in the will known as a “no-contest clause.”

What Is a No-Contest Clause?

The purpose of a no-contest clause is to discourage heirs or beneficiaries from challenging the will. Such a clause provides some sort of penalty to any party that challenges the will and loses. Often, a no-contest clause will state that any person who is named in the will and brings an unsuccessful challenge against it shall lose the inheritance which was originally theirs. Consequently, an heir who was set to receive a large portion of the estate is less likely to contest the will.

Famous musician Michael Jackson reportedly used a no-contest clause in his living trust. A living trust is a private legal document which can be used in place of or alongside a will to allocate a person’s assets upon his or her death. After Jackson’s death, many wondered if his mother would lose her share of trust assets if she challenged the validity of the trust

What Are the Limitations of a No-Contest Clause?

A no-contest clause does not, however, make your will completely immune to any challenge brought against it. If someone challenging the will can show that you were either not of sound mind or were unduly influenced when creating the will, the will can still be voided. If this happens, your estate will be allocated according to a previous will or by the laws in Illinois governing intestate succession.

If you want to learn more about wills and the suitability of a no-contest clause our team of knowledgeable lawyers are ready to help. Contact a Lombard estate planning attorney to schedule your confidential consultation today.



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