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New York & North Carolina

How to Discourage Will Disputes with a No-contest Clause


How to Avoid Having Your Will Contested

If you have reason to believe that someone might contest the validity of your Will or trust after your death, consider adding a “no-contest clause” to your Will. The “no-contest” clause is designed to discourage Will disputes by specifying that anyone who disputes the validity of the document in court will inherit nothing at all.

The No-Contest Clause

No-contest clauses are intended to discourage a beneficiary from contesting a will, however, they come with some risk. While the no-contest clause does sometimes effectively discourage beneficiaries from legally challenging a will, it does not prevent all issues or disagreements over the estate. The no-contest clause only applies to a named beneficiary in the will. Any person omitted from the will can challenge it without the fear of the non-inheritance consequence.

Next Steps

Should you have reason to believe that someone is likely to contest your will or trust after your death, our Trusts & Estates attorneys can assist you with adding a no-contest clause. These clauses can be very effective, but they do need to be written precisely to do their jobs properly.

We specialize in the representation of executors and beneficiaries of large estates exceeding $500,000. Our extensive knowledge and experience with New York Estates, Powers & Trusts Law (EPTL), Surrogate Court Procedures Act (SCPA), and other estate laws and case precedent provides our clients with the strong representation these matters require. If you have questions about the no-contest clause or other estate matters, please call us at (914) 228-7448.