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What is a no contest clause?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2019 | estate planning | 0 comments

When you have a will, you probably believe that after you die, a California court and your executor will follow your wishes and everything will go smoothly as planned. However, that is not always what happens. There is a chance that someone could contest your will. The court has to consider any objections, which can slow down the probate process and delay your heirs from getting what is rightfully theirs. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to potentially prevent a lengthy and contested dispute.

One option is adding a no contest clause to your will. While this clause states that nobody can object to your will, under the law according to California Legislative Information, it is only usable in certain situations. It cannot completely stop all contest situations that may occur. However, it is often better than nothing.

A no contest clause may work if there is no probable cause for the objection. In addition, it is applicable when a creditor files a claim or if it involves the transfer of property where someone is saying the property was not yours to transfer.

Keep in mind that if someone has probable cause for filing a contest to your will, then the court will always hear his or her case regardless of a no-contest clause in your will. You may be able to minimize the chances of baseless contests, but if someone has a legitimate reason, then it is difficult to proactively avoid.

While you will not be around to witness someone contesting your will, no matter the situation, this process can be frustrating for your loved ones to endure especially during a time of grief. No one wants to anticipate conflict with the will they have put substantial effort into creating. However, planning ahead to minimize the chance of a will contest can give you and your loved ones some peace of mind. This information is for education and is not legal advice.