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Why do people add no-contest clauses to their wills?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Estate planning

When you create an estate plan, you decide what legacy you leave behind when you die. Typically, people worry about providing for their loved ones and fairly distributing their assets. A will or estate plan outlines your last wishes and describes what should happen to your property. You can also name a guardian to help care for your children or other dependents.

Through the creation of unique estate planning documents, you can create a legacy that reflects your closest relationships and your personal values. However, your loved ones might try to undo that planning by challenging your estate documents in probate court.

Some people will intentionally include no-contest clauses in their estate plans to prevent unnecessary challenges against their last wishes. These clauses can disinherit anyone who challenges their estate plan. Why do people include no-contest clauses in their wills and trusts?

They recognize the expense of probate litigation

For some people, careful estate planning is a means of avoiding probate court altogether or streamlining the process so that the family’s resources don’t go to pay for court costs.

Probate litigation brought by a beneficiary could lead to thousands of dollars in court costs and attorney fees that diminish the inheritance of everyone from the estate. By adding a no-contest clause, a testator can prevent one family member from diminishing the inheritance of everybody else.

They want to prevent family fights

Some people recognize that their children have always had bad relationships. Others worry about how the pressure of a large inheritance may damage the relationships between the people they love the most. There have been plenty of families ripped apart by disagreements about large estates.

By adding a no-contest clause that effectively disinherits someone for bringing an unnecessary challenge against their wishes, a testator helps promote peaceful communication and conflict resolution if there are disagreements about the estate.

Typically, the Arizona probate courts will enforce no-contest clauses included in either a will or trust. If someone brings an unnecessary or questionable challenge against your last wishes, they may lose their share of the estate as a result. Learning about the different tools that can limit probate conflicts can help you create a thorough and effective estate plan.