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A No-Contest Clause Could Help Solidify Your Will

Posted on in Estate Planning Blog

Lombard estate planning lawyersIn a recent post on this blog, we talked a little bit about how to decide if and when you should challenge the will of a recently-deceased loved one. Such a decision is never easy and must be made with great care. But, what about the other side of the equation? Is there anything you can do to help prevent a contest of your own will, if and when the time comes? In fact, there are a few things that can be done, including a provision that can be included right in the will itself. It is known colloquially as a non-contest clause and can be a useful tool in simplifying matters after your death.

What Is a No-Contest Clause?

A no-contest clause is sometimes referred to as an in terrorem provision. In terrorem translates from Latin as “about fear,” and such a clause in a legal document provides some sort of penalty to a party who challenges the document and loses. In the realm of estate planning, no-contest clauses may be used in the creation of wills or trusts to discourage most challenges from named heirs or beneficiaries.

It is not uncommon for a no-contest clause in a will to state that any party named in the will who brings an unsuccessful challenge will, therefore, receive none of the inheritance originally intended for that heir. Of course, a disappointed family member who was left out of the will would have little reason not to mount a challenge. An heir set to receive a significant portion of the estate, however, may be less inclined to contest the will, as he or she may stand to lose a great deal.

Valid Challenges Still Possible

It is important to remember that a no-contest clause does not automatically make your will immune to all challenges. If a challenging party can show that you were not of sound mind or were unduly influenced in creating the will, the entire document may be voided in spite of the no-contest provision. In a case such as this, the entire portion of the estate addressed in the will would be then allocated according to the terms of a previously executed will or by the intestate laws in place in Illinois.

Guidance for Your Will

For more information about wills and the suitability of a no-contest clause for your situation, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning attorney. Schedule your confidential consultation at any of the three convenient locations of A. Traub & Associates today. We can help you develop an estate plan that meets your needs and protects your family.

 

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/your-money/estate-planning/29ESTATE.html?_r=0

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/09/24/making-bulletproof-will-estate-planning/90949652/

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